History will be made in terms of Heavyweight matchups, as Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua are slated to rematch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 7th.
This news was first reported by Mike “Copp” Coppinger of The Athletic, who announced on social media the fight would be there from his sources. Once Coppinger broke the story, Anthony Joshua and broadcaster DAZN, both confirmed the match through social media, making it official.
This bout will be unprecedented, as this will be the first-ever Heavyweight Championship bout taking place in Saudi Arabia or anywhere in the Middle East.
Neutral grounds – LETS GO – Dec 7th, time to be 2X – 258MGT ? pic.twitter.com/cNOJV3QkYX
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) August 9, 2019
The neutral site of Saudi Arabia is an interesting one on both sides. As for Joshua, one would assume he wanted to have this rematch take place in his native United Kingdom. Leading up to the announcement of this fight, it was reported it was likely going to take place in the outdoor stadium in Cardiff, Wales where Joshua defended the titles twice before.
But, that was much to the resistance of Andy Ruiz, who preferred not fight him in his home region.
Joshua, stated “Ruiz’s uncle could be the referee and I’d still whoop him,” earlier in the week.
For Ruiz, this is interesting as he made $7 million in the first fight and now, stands to make much more in the rematch, as the champ. It’s more than likely, he can be given that payday, now without having the “home country advantage” of Britain behind Joshua.
The Sun reported earlier Friday morning that the host country put up close to $100m guaranteed for the contest to take place in Riyadh. Ruiz had hinted that he wanted the fight to take place in Mexico or even back at Madison Square Garden, where he stunned the unbeaten Johsua with a 7th round TKO in June.
Also, with the contest taking place in Riyadh for DAZN, it apparently will help them stream the bout at a more effective cost from their end. And, they can air the stream in all nine worldwide markets they operate.
ESPN’s Boxing insider Dan Rafael reported Friday afternoon, that the fight will be held just outside of Riyadh in the city if Diriyah, where there will be a special outdoor stadium constructed for the bout. Rafael further wrote, that DAZN streaming is expected to secure the U.S. rights (and worldwide streaming rights outside the U.K.), but that it’s not a done deal.
One huge selling point for the profitability of Joshua-Ruiz II is that England’s Sky Sports Pay per View stands to make much more massive money with this fight in primetime in the U.K. on Saturday December 7th. The first Joshua-Ruiz fight in New York began after 4 a.m. local time Sunday morning June 2nd in England.
Riyadh is two hours ahead of London time and much easier to gain a larger audience in England and all of Europe.
One thing for certain is that the news of a heavyweight rematch taking place in a neutral foreign country for both sides is sensational and it’s major payday for everyone involved.
Bring on “The Clash of The Dunes,” Joshua-Ruiz II.