Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing made it official today, the Ruiz Jr vs Joshua rematch has been agreed by all parties and will be staged in Diriyah, Saudia Arabia on December 7th. The announcement ends speculation that Ruiz Jr was not going to go through with the rematch due to a disagreement regarding his $9m purse. News that Matchroom had secured a reported $40m site fee from the Saudi’s fuelled speculation that the champion would not take part in the rematch unless his share of the revenue increased significantly.
Thankfully all the problems have been ironed out and the fight is on. Ruiz has told the media that he intends to slim down for the fight so that he can be quicker with his feet and hands, the very things that caused Joshua problems in the first fight. But, Joshua will start favourite with the bookies who believe that the June fight was a result of a below par performance from the 2012 Olympic champion.
Joshua appears to have already removed some of the heavy muscle that he usually carries, a sure sign that he intends to be a lot more mobile and have more energy if the fight goes into the later rounds, a problem that he has been criticised for in the past. He did, however, come back from a heavy 6th round knockdown by Wladimir Klitschko to stop the former champion in the 11th round of their 2017 classic encounter.
Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2 will eclipse the July Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman bout as the biggest boxing event of 2019 by a long way. Paquiao was reported to have earned a $10m purse while Joshua is expected to earn in excess of $30m.
With the fight just short of four months away we can look forward to a great build-up.