Heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr had suggested rematch with Anthony Joshua would be held in America
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has completely rejected any suggestion that the world heavyweight title rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr will be held anywhere else other than the previously announced Saudi Arabia.
Ruiz had claimed on Wednesday during a live Instagram video Q&A that the fight will be held in his native America.
Asked if the rematch would be on home turf, the 29-year-old IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion said: “Of course, but it’s going to be on my terms and our terms. We’re going to bring it back here in the United States.”
However, Hearn said the contract for the rematch was signed before the first fight, while the Saudi venue was agreed last week. And he has warned Ruiz to honour the deal agreed or risk a lengthy legal battle.
He told Sky Sports: “There are no conversations between the two teams about not doing the fight. I don’t perceive a problem. He signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with; that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100 per cent honour that contract.”
He added: “His choice is to have a legal battle that could put him out of boxing for years, or to defend his belts for a lot of money against a guy he has already beaten. There isn’t any doubt he will take the fight.”
Amnesty International has criticised the choice of venue for the fight on December 7 - when Joshua will aim to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles he lost to Ruiz Jr in Madison Square Garden, New York in June - citing the country’s poor human rights record, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the ongoing war in Yemen.
But Hearn has said the controversial decision could “change boxing forever”.