The battle before the battle in Saudi Arabia appears to be over. Afterwith Anthony Joshua to the United States rather than Saudi Arabia, it now appears the heavyweight champion has been compensated well enough to fight in the Middle East.
Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) was upwards of a 25-1 underdog when he knocked out Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) in shocking fashion in June.
Matchroom Boxing installed a rematch clause for Joshua should anything go sideways, leading to some tough negotiations between the two camps on how much money and where the rematch would take place. Ruiz initially resisted the idea of going to Saudi Arabia, but reports from ESPN’s Dan Rafael and The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger say the champ relented following a better financial package. The fight now seems a complete go for Dec. 7.
ESPN’s sources also confirmed the two teams agreed to VADA drug testing for the rematch. The agency also handled drug testing for the first bout.
More boxing news, rumors
- Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde made weight for Saturday’s clash. Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KO) checked in at 174.6 pounds to Yarde’s (18-0, 17 KO) 173.9, both under the 175-pound limit.
- Emanuel Navarrete’s next foe is set as he’ll meet Juan Miguel Elorde on Sept. 14. The WBO super bantamweight champ is coming off a three-round knockout win over Francisco De Vaca earlier this month.
- In addition to locking in his fight with Sergiy Derevyanchenko for Oct. 5, Gennadiy Golovkin has officially struck a partnership deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. “By teaming up with Matchroom, we stress that GGG Promotions is committed to presenting the biggest events in the most important arenas,” A Golovkin statement read. “I’m always happy to work with the best in business, and I’m looking forward to what this collaboration will bring to the boxing fans.”