Eddie Hearn’s Saucy Saudi Vision
For months, the boxing world has awaited the location of Andy Ruiz Jr’s highly anticipated rematch with Anthony “AJ” Joshua. Ever since their memorable June 1 dust-up, the potential whereabouts of the important do-over has remained an extremely hot topic.
Most believed that it would take place in the former champion’s homeland. The UK was one potential destination for the prizefight. Additionally, so were Mexico, New York and Las Vegas to name a few.
In the end, it appears that Saudi Arabia was the selected locale.
ONE ODD, LOPSIDED PRESSER
In order to put an end to the speculation, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn held a formal press conference in London to officially announce the bout. At the presser Hearn declared that unified heavyweight champion Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz Jr will face Anthony “AJ” Joshua on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.
Typically, with announcements of this variety, all speculations about the forthcoming bout readily ends. This is not quite the case in this scenario. Throughout the entire process of determining a fight venue, there has been very public discord between Team Joshua and Team Ruiz.
Hearn was adamant that he wanted the fight staged in the UK. Ruiz wanted just about anywhere but the UK, while AJ’s opinion has changed as swiftly and routinely as the shape of the moon.
“I feel Ruiz would have moaned, and moaned, and moaned with a UK fight and if Joshua was going to win, would he actually get the credit beating him in his backyard? I don’t know.”
Several days prior to the official fight announcement, Hearn used social media to publicize that the rematch would be in Saudi Arabia. However, despite his exuberance, Team Ruiz remained cryptically silent.
This complete lack of acknowledgement led many to believe that perhaps the location was not a done deal. This belief was strengthened when Ruis’z own coach, Manny Robles, stated in interviews that their side had not agreed to the Middle Eastern location.
A LOT OF WORDS, BUT FEW ANSWERS
At the presser, even when directly asked about these contradictions, Hearn supplied a series of meandering, noncommittal responses that he has become famous for.
“Yeah, because he wants some questions answered, he’s got some leverage as well. I think he wants a plane for his jewelry that he’s bought since the fight, so this is just the game of boxing.
“You know, contractually he’s completely bound into this fight. There are some things that he may want in this fight. He wants some questions answered, which I would be asking the same questions as well.
“Since he’s won, all his mates are telling him, ‘you should be getting this, you should be getting that,’ so really he’s probably not happy that he’s got to fight Anthony Joshua again. Contractually, he has to. So, does he want more money for the fight? Absolutely!
“Do we have to give it to him? Absolutely not! But we will make sure he is happy and respected as a world champion. I like Andy Ruiz, but he has an obligation as a man to honor what he agreed and what he signed.”
It is curious that no one representing Team Ruiz was at the presser. Furthermore, not only was there no one to physically represent the champion, since the presser, no one from the Destroyers camp has co-signed the announcement on any social media platform.
While it’s all still a matter of rumor, the word on the street is the champ wants more money to travel to the Middle Eastern showdown.
3kingsboxing will continue to cover and report on these irregular fight developments.
By: Bakari Simpson