By: Sean Crose
Andy Ruiz stunned the world on June 1st when he bested heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden in a bout that was streamed live in America on the DAZN streaming service. Now, it’s been announced that DAZN will be exclusively streaming the rematch between the two heavyweights, which will go down in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on December 7th. “Their first fight captured the world’s attention and once again illustrated that you never know what will happen when two heavyweight boxers enter a ring,” Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP, North America, claims. “Ruiz vs. Joshua II is by far the most-anticipated rematch in recent memory and adds to DAZN’s year-end schedule, which will be the best stretch of boxing that fans have seen in years.”
Mathroom Boxing honcho Eddie Hearn, who is promoting Ruiz-Joshua 2, is eager to sing the praises of a DAZN broadcast: “June 1, 2019 was a day that will be forever etched in boxing history,” he says. “Andy Ruiz caused one of the great boxing upsets of all time when him and Anthony Joshua engaged in an epic battle in front of a sold-out MSG. The noise about the rematch has been deafening: Will it happen? Where will it be? Who will win? Step up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who will now host one of the biggest and most iconic boxing events of our generation. Held at a 16,000-person purpose built stadium that will stand within the UNESCO heritage site in Diriyah, ‘Clash on the Dunes’ will follow in the footsteps of the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and ‘Thrilla in Manila.’ The whole world will stop to watch this fight and sports fans across America will get the chance to watch it all unfold live on DAZN.”
DAZN launched in the US roughly a year ago, and has it made it a point to become a true force in the boxing landscape. Not only has the service teamed up with Joshua, it’s also teamed with Canelo Alvarez, unquestionably the most lucrative active boxer on the planet at the moment. Add in names like Gennady Golovkin, Billy Joe Saunders, Demetrius Andrade, and others, and it becomes clear that DAZN has been willing to put its money where its mouth is (such talent, especially on the level of Joshua, Canelo, and Golovkin, doesn’t come cheap). Ruiz’ shocking upset of Joshua last spring, however, took some luster off of one DAZN’s biggest names.
With that in mind, the Ruiz upset has made for a very intriguing rematch, one which is happening quite quickly after the original fight, if modern day standards are to be applied. At the moment, Ruiz-Josha 2 may be the biggest event in the sport. That means a lot of eyeballs are apt to be focused on DAZN December 7th. Should Joshua win, there’s a good chance for other major heavyweight bouts to appear on the streaming service. Should Joshua lose again, however, it might be a big loss for DAZN, for Ruiz is aligned with Al Haymon, who generally does business with Fox and Showtime. WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder also fights under Haymon’s stable, while Tyson Fury, the division’s other big name, is entrenched with promoter Bob Arum and ESPN.