Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 14 October 2019

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia: Everything you need to know

After the announcement that the world heavyweight title rematch will be held in Saudi Arabia, here is what we know so far

Andy Ruiz Jr celebrates with the world titles he won after beating Anthony Joshua in their first fight at Madison Square Garden. Reuters
Andy Ruiz Jr celebrates with the world titles he won after beating Anthony Joshua in their first fight at Madison Square Garden. Reuters

What is it?

Andy Ruiz Jr will put his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles on the line against Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia. The fight will be a rematch of their June 1 fight, which Ruiz sensationally won with a seventh round stoppage at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Where is it?

The fight will take place in Diriyah, which incorporates the UNESCO World Heritage site of Al-Turaif, on the outskirts of Riyadh.

When is it?

December 7, 2019.

What happened in the first fight?

Joshua was heavily favoured to extend his unbeaten professional record in his 23rd fight against Ruiz, who was only called up as a late replacement at four weeks notice after original opponent Jarrell Miller failed a series of doping tests.

The British champion looked set to be on course for his latest win when he dropped Ruiz in the third round. However, as Joshua went in for the finish, Ruiz landed a succession of heavy blows to drop Joshua twice in the same round and the champion never recovered.

Ruiz then knocked down Joshua twice in the seventh round before the referee waved off the fight, sealing one of the biggest upset results in boxing history.

What are their professional records?

Ruiz has won 33 professional fights, claiming 22 knockouts, against one defeat - to New Zealand's Joseph Parker in December 2016 in a close majority points decision.

Joshua has won 22 professional fights, with 21 knockouts. His sole defeat was to Ruiz.

Why is the fight taking place in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has been making a big effort in attracting world class sports events to the Kingdom in recent years.

This fight will be the third world-level boxing event to be staged in Saudi Arabia, following the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series final between Callum Smith and George Groves - which Smith won via a seventh-round stoppage - in September last year, and Amir Khan's WBC welterweight fight against Billy Dib last month. Khan won that fight with a fourth round knockout.

As well as boxing, Saudi Arabia hosted a European Tour golf event - the Saudi International - in February, a Formula E race in December, and will stage the Dakar Rally in 2020. Talks are also ongoing over a Formula One race being held in the Kingdom.

When are tickets available?

There has yet to be ticket information released, although a press conference has been called for Monday, 12 August in London when more details regarding the fight will be announced.

Updated: August 10, 2019 11:55 AM

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