ANTHONY JOSHUA’S rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia is in doubt with the Mexican’s team admitting “nothing has been confirmed” yet.
The shock statement comes just 48 hours after promoter Eddie Hearn and Joshua both officially announced the rematch on social media for December 7 in Diriyah.
It’s been reported that the hold up is linked to the fight purse after The Athletic said that Ruiz “isn’t expected to sign off on the rematch in Saudi Arabia unless he’s guaranteed a significantly higher purse”.
Original terms agreed before he shocked the world and battered Joshua in June means he could take home half of what AJ does from the dust up in the desert, around £8m.
Saudi investors stumped up £83m to bring the heavyweight contest to the Middle East.
Ruiz’s trainer Manny Robles told Fanatics View: “Well you’ve only heard one side – it takes two to tango right, you’ve only heard one side so far and we’re yet to hear from Andy.
“I believe it will happen of course but negotiations have to be met”
“I’ve got to sit down with my team and see what’s going on really, but as of right now, they can say we’re fighting December 7 – they can say we’re fighting next week but nothing’s been confirmed.
“It’s just a question of them (Team Joshua) sitting down and reaching an agreement and making things happen.
“I believe it will happen of course but negotiations have to be met.
“There’s other terms that need to be met to finalise the fight.”
CHAMPION TO POCKET LESS THAN CHALLENGER
Joshua reportedly made £18 million from the first fight with Ruiz taking £5 million.
But the Middle East showdown in the winter is set to earn AJ a career high payday.
The Brit was dropped a total of four times by Ruiz at Madison Square Garden in June before the referee stepped in to wave the contest off handing Ruiz the win.
The Mexican picked up AJ’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world title belts.
Underdog champ Ruiz refused to travel to the UK to rematch Joshua, voicing concerns after Dillian Whyte was cleared to box Oscar Rivas last month despite an “adverse finding” in a pre-fight drug test.
RUIZ AND SECURITY CONCERNS
AJ – who this week stunned fans with his drastic body transformation – was willing to right the wrong at the scene of the crime and return to New York, having been dropped four times on his US debut before the seventh round stoppage loss at Madison Square Garden.
It’s reported that “in excess” of £33m was paid as a site fee for the fight held in Saudi Arabia.
There is another way Ruiz could get out of the rematch taking place in the Middle East – over security concerns.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is on Level 2 of the US travel advisory list.
This states that visitors need to “exercise increased caution due to terrorism and the threat of missile and drone attacks”.
Ruiz has appeared to favour the bout taking place in his homeland of Mexico.
Joshua even said he wouldn’t mind that and would allow Ruiz’s uncle to “be the referee” as he would still “whoop him”.
Article courtesy of The Sun
Photo courtesy of Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing