By Sean Crose
“A rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr will take place in November or December, Eddie Hearn has confirmed”
With the above tweet, Britain’s Sky Sports announced to the world that former WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is not going to sit around and gather his thoughts before trying to win his titles back. The 22-1 Englishman will indeed be acting on the rematch clause that was signed before he faced the 34-1 Andy Ruiz in what was essentially considered to be no more than a tune up fight last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
The bout ended in a stunning upset as the vastly under-rated Ruiz got up off the mat to drop Joshua a total of four times before the bout was finally stopped by the referee in the seventh round. Although it may not have been the biggest upset in heavyweight boxing history (Tyson-Douglas still holds that claim), it was arguably the biggest surprise the sport has seen in decades, one which has made Ruiz an overnight sensation. Joshua, on the other hand, looked as if he didn’t have his wits entirely about him on Saturday night. It’s been bandied around the internet that the man’s mind simply never cleared after Joshua was first dripped by Ruiz in round four.
Now an obviously clear headed Joshua wants to return against Ruiz in his next fight, clearly in the hopes of showing the world that the first battle was a fluke. Should he succeed, Joshua will appear to be more in the mold of former champions Lennox Lewis, and Wladimir Klitschko, who both moved on and grew from knockout losses, than he will Mike Tyson, who some argue was never the same after his first defeat.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, took to Twitter on Tuesday. “After meetings with AJ, Rob Mc and the management team in NY,” he stated, “we have today triggered the contracted rematch clause with Andy Ruiz Jnr. The fight will take place in Nov/Dec at a venue to be confirmed shortly.” An interesting question now might be where the rematch will actually take place. Joshua is a huge draw in England, known to sell out the likes of Wembley Stadium. Being the first heavyweight champion of Mexican heritage, however, means that Ruiz might well be an enormous draw in the United States, as well.