New Horizon – Andy Ruiz Jr to Return Under Reynoso Regime
By: Thomas Nicholls
Mexico’s Heavyweight star Andy Ruiz Jr has had a lot of time to stew over his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it chapter at the top of the Heavyweight pile.
His win over Anthony Joshua back in June 2019 took us all by surprise, yet his reign at the pinnacle of the heavies ended abruptly with a shutout defeat to AJ in the Saudi rematch.
Fundamentally, he is a tough task for just about any of the current top crop, but his infrequent training sessions and pizza parties ahead of the Joshua rematch have left a sour taste.
So, the man who Ruiz embraced in euphoria back at the MSG, Manny Robles, has been sent packing as Ruiz bids to revitalise his career. An understandably upset Robles told SkySports: “My job is not to call him every day. He is a man, not a kid, and must be treated as such.
“You can’t convince someone to want something.
“The fame and money has been overwhelming for Andy. He has got to know how to handle it. Maybe after this defeat, the game has humbled him.
“Stay humble or be humbled.
“The first three months after beating Joshua on June 1, I had very little communication with him.
“I was in the gym but he was at home, doing his own thing. I wasn’t able to see him or really talk to him.
“I was disappointed by everything leading up to the result [of the rematch]. The preparation. Fights are won in the gym and, when you don’t go into a fight at 100 per cent this is what you get.”
Inbound is Eddy Reynoso, the man who leads P4P star, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Reynoso’s gym is simply star studded. Canelo, of course, the poster-boy and within the team are native Mexicans, Luis Nery, Julio Cesar Martinez and Oscar Valdez. Not bad company at all.
Frankly, now is the time for Ruiz to park the fleet of cars that James Bond would envy, refrain from uploading photoshopped torso shots on Instagram and revert his focus to what sealed that famous coronation in New York.
Sat on the precipice, if he is unable to rediscover the heart and focus to get back on the path to glory, he could join the dreaded company of some of Boxing’s bizarre Heavyweight reigns.
However, with Reynoso’s input, discipline and dedication, then all of a sudden the heavyweight division will have it’s dangerous underdog back. Ruiz Jr can be a match for anyone.
Andy Ruiz Jr. Trainer Manny Robles “Hasn’t Heard” From The Ex-Champion
by: Johnny Walker
The fallout continues from the poor outing by Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) in his unanimous decision rematch loss against the now re-crowned world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of the UK (23-1, 21 KOs) on December 7th.
In marked contrast to his ubiquitous presence following the night at the beginning of June when as underdog challenger he took the titles away from Joshua, there have been no notable recent media sightings of the now shamed ex-champ. Meanwhile, details continue to emerge of Ruiz’s puzzling sloth and seemingly uncaring attitude as the biggest fight of his life approached.
One of the most puzzled parties is Ruiz’s trainer Manny Robles, whose honesty regarding the turmoil in the Ruiz camp, as the champion suddenly decided to abandon his training in order to “party” with friends (if people who would encourage and enable such behavior can truthfully be called friends), has been refreshing.
“At least know that you gave it 100,” said a frustrated Robles in an interview conducted while back at work in his California gym recently. “Money isn’t everything, you want to leave a legacy.”
“Every fight is the biggest fight of your life.”
Robles, blown off early in training camp by Ruiz and finally reduced to begging the fighter via text message to come and train for the biggest fight of both of their lives, obviously feels that despite ample warnings about his self-destructive behavior, Ruiz’s head was turned by money and instant fame.
Far from the friendly and benign guy of TV interviews, Andy Ruiz became both arrogant and deceptive very quickly, judging from Robles’ account.
Ruiz has admitted he thought he could go it alone and “train himself” for the rematch, and Robles says that various people caught the fighter’s ear, turning him away from the task at hand.
Now, in the aftermath of the disastrous loss to Joshua, the seeming bright future for the Robles and Ruiz team has become very cloudy.
“If he wants it, I’m here, let’s go and get it,” Robles says in relation to future fights. “But [Ruiz] has got to know what he really wants.”
A chagrined Robles explains that while Ruiz may have been acting like a wayward teenager, as a trainer employed by the fighter, he could only do so much to try to rescue his charge from what became an inevitable fate at the hands of Joshua.
“At the end of the day, he’s his own man, he’s a man, not a kid,” Robles explains. “He’s gotta know right from wrong.”
“When he was in the gym, I tried to do what I could to get him in the best shape I could,” Robles continues, explaining that Ruiz faced some minor problems including gout (!) and a twisted ankle during the lead-up to the rematch, but nothing major.
“Obviously it wasn’t enough.”
And while there were numerous media stories about Ruiz’s “extreme weight loss” to the point where even former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson felt the need to express concern, Robles admits that except for some weight Ruiz dropped early in camp, it was all smoke and mirrors.
“I’m not responsible for him,” Robles says regarding Ruiz’s party boy lifestyle, documented by the fighter himself on social media with pictures and video of theme parties, mounds of food, expensive cars and even of a mansion and sprawling estate the fighter bought with his payout on the first Joshua fight.
“When he steps in the gym, I’m responsible, but when he’s not [there], there’s nothing I can do,’ Robles shrugs.
Perhaps tellingly, Robles says in the recent interview that he has not heard from Ruiz since the press conference following the loss to Joshua, during which the now ex-champ apologized for his behavior in and out of camp.
“I sent [Ruiz] a message the other day … didn’t get a response,” a crestfallen Robles explains.
“What can I say?”
“Sometimes fame and fortune can be overwhelming.”
Gangsta’s Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Andy Ruiz Jr.
By: Johnny Walker
Six months ago, Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr. seemed like a real-life “Rocky,” a stubby and chubby everyman and likable underdog who overcame the odds and knocked off the always super-fit, slick and smooth British heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.
Having spoiled “AJ’s” American ring debut in the Big Apple, the Snickers-munching champion was soon on top of the world, seemingly saying “yes” to every media interview.
For a while, Ruiz was everywhere, charming people with his friendly, if somewhat blank, demeanor. But the inability to say no to the media soon just became an inability to say no at all, as Ruiz embarked on a money spending spree of major conspicuous consumption.
Soon we were inundated with social media images of the “humble” champ effecting a 180-degree change on his lifestyle.
To put it simply. Ruiz set about to emulate the songs and videos of the gangsta rap icons of his youth and bring them to life. He bought numerous cars, a huge mansion and estate, tons of bling, and threw tacky theme parties populated by the kind of lowlife scum who always show up when some sucker is flashing the cash.
Andy Ruiz Jr. flashed the devil horns as naked ladies jumped out of birthday cakes. This was the “humble champion” who had toppled Anthony Joshua?
Throwing gang signs and skulking around with his damaged looking hood buddies, Ruiz even starred in a 4-part YouTube series called “Dank City: A Day in the Life, Andy Ruiz Jr.” If your idea of fun is watching Ruiz and his crew roll around town engaging in conspicuous consumption of all kinds, chowing down heaping plates of rather disgusting looking food, buying jewelry, whispering “secret” things off camera, and generally giving off an air of vapidity, this series, which in retrospect seems to presage the newbie champ’s downfall, is for you.
Indeed, following a humiliating wide UD loss to Joshua last Saturday in Saudi Arabia, a bewildered Ruiz indeed seems more like a washed-out extra from an old gangsta rap video, while sparkling champ Joshua once again basks in waves of adulation back home in his native UK.
Ruiz’s rise was meteoric. and his fall was even faster, like a burnt-out star crashing into the sea.
In the wake of Ruiz’s dismal first and last defense of his titles, boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi went so far as to refer to the now scorned ex-heavyweight champion as a “fat tub of shit” who was defeated before he got into the ring for the second time with Joshua.
Like the mythical Icarus, Ruiz had flown too close to the sun and gotten burnt by his own hubris, his metaphorical wings melting from proximity to the heat of fame and excess.
In retrospect, it’s wasn’t hard to discern the coming disaster, given the path Ruiz almost immediately set out upon after he got a huge payday for his win over the giant unified heavyweight champion from the UK. Anthony Joshua was humiliated and vowing to train harder than ever to get his titles back.
One little problem for Ruiz was the rematch looming on the horizon with a shaken Joshua and an enraged Eddie Hearn, AJ’s manager.
You fight one, you are fighting both of them. Hearn made sure that going into the rematch, nothing would be easy for Ruiz: they got the fight set in Saudi Arabia, an alien environment; they chose a bigger ring, which would make it harder for the rotund Ruiz to chase down the challenger; they picked a referee more favorable to the style Joshua intended on using: stick and move, basically.
Ruiz would certainly need to be in the best shape of his life, but alas….
With the benefit of hindsight, one of the most troubling things about Andy Ruiz’s fall from grace was his capacity for deception, both of himself and of the public. We may never know who slipped those “thin Andy!” photos to the press, the ones that even got former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson totally shook up about Ruiz “losing too much weight.”
To the eternal shame of the boxing media, almost no one seemed to question the authenticity of the weight loss photos, though in his few public appearances, Ruiz seemed to the naked eye to be bigger than ever. But as those photos were disseminated online, Ruiz was only too happy to play along with the notion that he was now a Mexican-American Jack La Lanne whenever the boxing media came calling.
Ruiz would weigh “around 255” for the rematch with Joshua, we were told. The newbie champ, with his beatific, Buddha-like air of calmness and very un-gangsta-like, smiling demeanor, didn’t seem like the type of guy to be telling bald faced lies to the press and the public, never mind what one’s own lying eyes might be telling him or her.
Soon the media was full of “ANDY RUIZ MIRACLE WEIGHT LOSS” type stories. One expected the “happy gangsta champ” to be appearing in a Jenny Craig’s ad soon, leading his tattooed home boys in a round of jumping jacks.
Did a panicked Ruiz realize as the rematch approached that his new “24 Hour Party People” lifestyle was incompatible with his chosen profession, and have someone alter a couple of pictures to make him appear drastically slimmer?
Or were the pics from an earlier, lighter phase of his career?
Either way, if you laid down a big bet based on those photos as evidence of Ruiz’s newfound dedication during training camp, chances are you aren’t too happy with the ex-champ today as you watch Joshua parade around with belts he can now claim were lost through a fluke, via a “lucky punch,” belts that have now been returned to their rightful owner.
And you might also be a bit sore that a gullible boxing media went along like happy dupes as Ruiz gained weight and told them he was losing it, functioning more like PR agents for DAZN than journalists interested in the truth.
Finally, as the fight date grew near and reality became unavoidable, trainer Manny Robles told the press Ruiz was now shooting for the same weight as the first fight, 268. This turned out to be wishful thinking, as Ruiz tipped the scales at 283.7, a 15-pound gain from the first fight. Even then, Ruiz didn’t level with the public, rather ridiculously saying the extra weight was due to a sombrero he wore for the weigh-in!
It wasn’t until he had decisively lost that the truth came out, and Andy Ruiz Jr.’s gangsta king fantasy bubble burst in full public view.
Ruiz, knowing he’d blown it, and having now already spent millions of dollars, appeared a little too eager for a “trilogy” in the aftermath of the fight, desperately repeating that magic word over and over again like he’d just learned it.
In reality, the idea of another mega-money fight with Joshua anytime soon seems remote.
Eddie Hearn is not anxious to see a possibly fitter Ruiz back in the ring with his golden fighter–upon whom the fates of mere things like British boxing itself and the online fight site DAZN is said to rest–anytime soon.
“Perhaps if Andy wins a few fights…” said a less than enthusiastic Hearn after the fight regarding the “trilogy idea.”
Andy Ruiz Jr. fooled the media, fooled boxing fans, but the biggest fool was himself. He seemed to believe his own lies, content to party on in a bubble with enabling friends until it was too late to turn back.
That he knew the stories of Buster Douglas, Leon Spinks, and other underdogs who’d won it all only to turn around and lose it just as fast, denied he would be one of them, and then walked right into every trap that was waiting for him, just made it seem worse.
Damn, it’s hard to be a gangsta.
For Andy Ruiz Jr., the mansions, the bling, the parties, the cars: those will still be there for as long as the money holds out. But those coveted heavyweight titles may prove far harder to regain than they were to obtain in the first place.
Andy Ruiz Jr’s 15 Minutes of Fame is Over
By: Hans Themistode
“It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas,” said hall of fame fighter Marvin Hagler.
Andy Ruiz Jr quickly found out just how true those words are actually are.
The former unified Heavyweight champion was the man for six months. TV shows, pictures, parties, you name it.
Hell, Ruiz could have ran for president in his home country of Mexico and came out with the victory.
An unanticipated win against Anthony Joshua can do that to a fighter.
We’ve all seen it. Ruiz walked into the ring on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City as a late replacement and pretty much pounded Joshua for seven straight rounds until he could no longer take the punishment.
From there, Ruiz was literally an overnight celebrity. You always worry about that with people who aren’t accustomed to that sort of attention. But yet, something about Ruiz seemed to be different. He did change up a few things. He wore iced out watches and chains. Drove around in Bentleys and upgraded his living arraignment significantly. That should have been a sign, but we didn’t see it.
Ruiz was still soft spoken, he wasn’t loud or brash and he wasn’t a jerk to fans who clamored to him grab a picture. It didn’t seem like the money, power, attention and championship status got to his head.
We were all wrong.
Andy Ruiz Jr stepped onto the scale the night before his rematch against Joshua in Saudi Arabia weighing over 15 pounds then he originally did in their first contest. This was after Ruiz and his trainer claimed that he would come in lighter.
Still, for some reason, we didn’t see it coming. Ruiz claimed to want the extra pounds to be stronger.
Did the extra pounds make him stronger? Maybe. But it also made him slower, lethargic and a shell of his former self.
For 12 straight rounds Ruiz plodded around the ring while Joshua easily out boxed and punished him for the entire contest. Following a lopsided unanimous decision loss that saw his 15 minutes of fame come to an end, Ruiz admitted that he didn’t take this fight as serious as he should’ve.
I didn’t prepare how I should have,” Ruiz said. “I gained too much weight, but you know what? I don’t want to give no excuses. He won. He boxed me around, but you know what, if we do the third fight you better [expletive] believe I’m going to get in the [expletive] best shape of my life.”
So let’s get this straight. It took Ruiz losing the biggest fight in his life in order for him to take things more seriously? For fans of Andy Ruiz, that must be a tough pill to swallow.
A loss to Anthony Joshua is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, he has carved one hell of a career for himself already. What Ruiz should be ashamed of, however, is his performance and of course, his fitness level.
Everything was there for Ruiz. Joshua did not by any stretch of the imagination look like a world beater. He fought cautiously and timid as though he did not want to get hit on the chin. He spent the majority of the contest staying on the outside and clinching whenever Ruiz got in close. He landed a few shots here and there but nothing significant. All Ruiz needed to do was be in better shape in order to cut off the ring and keep the pressure on Joshua.
“That would have knocked down a horse,” said Joshua when referring to the punch that ended his championship reign in New York. “Andy’s a strong boy. He’s a strong man, you know what I mean?”
You don’t even need to read in-between the lines to understand what Joshua was essentially saying here. He did not want to get hit on the chin by Ruiz the second time around.
During the build up of their Heavyweight rematch, Ruiz was empathic about wanting to lose weight. Something that not many thought would be a good idea. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Still, Ruiz informed everyone that would listen that losing weight would allow him to be faster, cut the ring off easier and let his hands go even better than before.
You know what? He was right.
Had he gone through with initial plans of losing weight he could have accomplished everything he wanted to. Instead, he sat back, took this huge opportunity for granted and let down a fan base that was starving for their Mexican warrior to hold on to his titles.
“You know what, it kind of affected me a lot,” Ruiz said of the extra weight he carried. “I thought I was going to feel stronger. I thought I was going to be better. But you know what? Next fight, I think I’m going to get more prepared. I’m going to work with my team a little bit more. I tried to train kind of train myself.”
The words spewed by Ruiz are almost unbelievable. How can one night of glory infiltrate the mind of the former champion and force him into such a state of complacency?
This won’t be the last we see of Ruiz. He is only 30 years of age and has plenty of tread left on his tires.
Will he win another world title? It’s difficult to say. He certainly has the talent to trouble anyone in the division. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. Ruiz will always be remembered for his horrific performance in Saudi Arabia on December 7th, 2019.
Ruiz let down an entire country that had his back. Even Mexican superstar boxer Canelo Alvarez made the trek to Saudi Arabia to root for his fellow countrymen. Needless to say, Canelo must have been disappointed with what he witnessed.
The career of Andy Ruiz isn’t over, but he will need to come back better than ever if he intends to win back the fans and hometown support he undoubtedly lost.
The question now is, can Ruiz buckle down and regain his focus?
That will depend entirely on whether or not his pajamas are still made from silk.
What’s Next for Andy Ruiz?
By: Hans Themistode
There’s no other way to put it. That was just a truly disappointing showing by Andy Ruiz Jr. He shocked the world on June 1st, when he scored the stoppage win over Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. He once again shocked the world, but this time around not for the reasons he was hoping.
Ruiz was easily out boxed by Joshua when the two met in Saudi Arabia, this past weekend. It was the sort of performance that made many believe that the first fight was nothing more than a lucky win. Ruiz needs to quickly dismiss that notion. To do that, he needs a good win under his belt.
Luckily for him, he has plenty of options.
Luis Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs) is fresh off a loss to WBC champion Deontay Wilder, but he is still hands down one of the best fighters in the world. He still believes he can win a world title, but he just needs to avoid facing Wilder. Andy Ruiz Jr’s performance against Joshua was abysmal to say the least.
The fact that he admitted to not training hard will leave a sour taste in the mouths of many. Even with his huge mistakes in preparation, he is still a very good fighter. He can win back his fans and the respect of the boxing world if he can find a way to win against Luis Ortiz.
A shot at a title is exactly what Adam Kownacki is eyeing in 2020, but so is Ruiz. At this point, they need each other. Not only would they give the fans a fight of the year level contest, but the winner would immediately jump the long line of contenders for a shot at the title in 2020. Both Ruiz and Kownacki love to come forward and throw combinations. It’s a recipe for a great fight.
Anthony Joshua Part 3
What Ruiz did in his rematch against Anthony Joshua was shades of Buster Douglass. It just wasn’t the sort of performance that should lead to a third fight between them. Look, it isn’t easy to defend Ruiz and what he just did but the fact of the matter is that he did defeat Joshua in the first matchup.
At this point, it’s difficult to say that Ruiz is a better fighter than Joshua, but one more fight between them will absolutely shut the book on their rivalry. Ruiz vowed to train hard this time if he was given a third shot. Should we believe him? Probably not, but in order to put an end to their feud for good, these two need to step inside of the ring against one another one final time.
Andy Ruiz Falls From His High
By: Sean Crose
Here’s the truth – Anthony Joshua may well have won on Saturday, even if Andy Ruiz had shown up in shape. After losing his heavyweight titles in stunning fashion to Ruiz a mere six months earlier, Joshua arrived for their rematch in Saudi Arabia this past weekend with an excellent game plan in mind. It ended up being a plan Joshua executed to perfection in the fight, one which allowed him to regain the WBO, WBA, and IBF belts he had lost Ruiz in June at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Still, Ruiz almost guaranteed a Joshua win by weighing a fill fifteen plus pounds more than he did for the first fight with Joshua.
At that’s not all. Ruiz skipped – or missed – a Thursday conference call with the media, leaving his trainer, the loyal Manny Robles, to carry his water for him. There had also been rumors – now confirmed – that the Californian had been partying hard, way too hard it seems, after besting Joshua in their first fight. After Saturday’s disastrous performance, Ruiz openly admitted to his lack of discipline and even apologized to Robles and his father. He said he’d be back better than ever next time, and that he’d be everything he should be in a third fight with Joshua, but few seemed to take Ruiz’ words seriously. How could they?
“I think I didn’t prepare how I should have,” are not words any professional fighter wants to be noted for. Ruiz is noted for them now, however, and with good reason. Needless to say, the thirty year old now former champion seems to be receiving little sympathy throughout the fight world. “Andy Ruiz blew a big opportunity in the Middle East,” former pound for pound star Andre Ward tweeted Saturday. “He said he would die in the ring to keep his belts. It didn’t take all of that, it just took the discipline and courage to push the plate back and deny himself, to put himself in the best position to win. He couldn’t do it.”
Ward essentially put it in writing as well as anyone. There’s room for Ruiz to improve, though. Rather than being seen as the new Buster Douglas, which he’s now rightfully being viewed as, Ruiz can get his act together and start on the long road back to earning the respect he squandered over the course of half a year. Stranger things have happened. Ruiz embarrassed himself this past weekend, but he didn’t outright disgrace himself the way Roberto Duran did when he quit mid fight against Ray Leonard. If Roberto Duran could grind his way back into boxing fan’s good graces – and Duran did just that – then surely Ruiz can do the same.
Ruiz isn’t Duran, however. He’s a good fighter, though not a great one. Even if he does get a third match with Joshua, and shows up in the best shape of his life, it’s hard to imagine Joshua losing. It might be close, but the Englishman now seems to have figured his man out. Plus Ruiz might not be good enough to improve all that much as a fighter at this point. So yes, Ruiz may well have ended his fifteen minutes of fame and glory without putting in an honest effort. That doesn’t mean he can’t find redemption, however. Some impressive wins might do the man wonders, even if they’re not against the best in the business. Even an impressive loss to the likes of Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder would earn Ruiz acclaim.
In order to succeed by any standard, however, Ruiz will have to start acting like a professional, far more so than he did when he was a champion.
What to Make of The Extra Weight for Andy Ruiz…
By: Hans Themistode
Andy Ruiz Jr had time on his side this time around. Maybe too much.
When the current unified Heavyweight champion stopped former belt holder Anthony Joshua in the seventh round of their contest back on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, he had done so as a late replacement. Joshua was set to take on Heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller but had to change course once he was notified of Miller failing several drug tests.
In stepped Andy Ruiz Jr on roughly five weeks notice. He was fresh off a win against Alexander Dimitrenko a few weeks earlier and lobbied for the fight against Joshua. Once Ruiz got his wish, it was understandable if he was going to come into the fight a little on the chubby side.
With one day before the fight, Ruiz jumped on the scale at 268 pounds. Joshua on the other hand, came in at 247. Ruiz looked flabby while Joshua looked like a hand carved sculpture. None of that however, proved to matter as Ruiz knocked Joshua down four times en route to a seventh round stoppage.
Following the win, both men took a different approach to the rematch. Although Joshua didn’t necessarily say anything, his goal was obviously to shed some of his hulking muscles. He did just that as he came into the rematch weighing 10 pounds lighter at 237. The muscles were still evident, but they weren’t as imposing as they once were.
Ruiz on the other hand weighed in 15.7 pounds heavier than the first match at 283.7 pounds. It was difficult to conclude whether or not it was fat rather than muscle as Ruiz wore a black shirt that only exposed him arms during the weigh in.
The weight gain of Ruiz would normally be a non topic if he had not promised to lose a few pounds for the rematch.
“That’s something that we want,” said Ruiz during a conference discussing the rematch a few months ago. “For the last fight we had about a month and a week to train. I kinda wanted to be heavier for the first fight because Anthony Joshua is big and I wanted to carry his weight and take his punches well, but I think coming in 10 pounds lighter will make me a better fighter. I’m going to be faster and be able to let my hands go.”
Any worries of losing his power was also quickly dismissed.
“10 pounds isn’t going to make a difference,” Said Ruiz.
Now, there seems to be a clash of ideas. During a phone conference with trainer Manny Robles, he indicated that the weight loss was not going well.
“Andy said he was feeling drained,” said Robles. “So we decided to put the weight back on. He is going to weigh the same as he did for the first match.”
Now that Ruiz has tipped the scale even heavier than his trainer was expecting, this doesn’t sound like both the fighter and trainer are on the same page.
Could the success have gotten to the head of Ruiz? It’s difficult to say but this gives an eerie similar feeling of Buster Douglas vs Evander Holyfield almost 30 years ago.
Whether the extra weight will help or hurt Ruiz will soon be found out.
Andy Ruiz Weighs In At A Huge 283 LBS
By: Sean Crose
Andy Ruiz’ trainer, Manny Robles, said on a conference call Thursday that he expected the defending WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight champion to weigh around 268 pounds for his Saturday rematch with Anthony Joshua, who Ruiz bested in stunning fashion last June. On Friday, a fully clothed Ruiz stepped onto the scales in Saudi Arabia and weighed in at a whopping 283 pounds. That was between ten and twenty more pounds than the Californian weighed when he fought Joshua the first time – a fact that immediately got the internet buzzing. As for the challenger, Joshua – he came in at a lean and mean 237.
Much will be made of Ruiz’ weight gain in the brief amount of time leading up to Saturday’s fight. Images of James “Buster” Douglas will undoubtedly be floating through the heads of fans and analysts alike. For it had been whispered that Ruiz had been partying rather hard before camp. Ruiz also missed a conference call with the media that he was supposed to be on Thursday. Although it would be wrong at this point to slip into conjecture and gossip, such things become newsworthy when a fighter hits the scales at the weight Ruiz did on Friday in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua was essentially the toast of the fight game when he slipped in between the ropes to face Ruiz last spring. A last minute replacement for Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, who had tested positive for a banned substance, Ruiz was seen as little more than a glorified tune up. The skilled contender took Joshua to school after being knocked down in the third round, however. For Ruiz went on to drop Joshua a total of four times and stopped his man in the seventh. It was a stunning turn of events, especially when one considers the Madison Square Garden hosted fight was the popular Joshua’s American debut.
Much ink and air has been given in speculation as to how Saturday’s rematch will turn out. Although many, if not most, expect to see a different Joshua than the aggressive hitter who lost his belts last spring, there are those who have also been wondering if Ruiz will show that he can consistently perform at the level he did during the first fight with Joshua. And, although there’s room for speculation – no one knows how this bout will turn out until the opening bell rings on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
The Empire Strikes Back!? Starring Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz
By: Kirk Jackson
Over the course of time, historic empires experience a meteoric rise through careful craft and many, as is the scope of life, eventually fall. Historically, the Roman Empire, the Qing dynasty, Byzantine Empire and Ghana Empire are just a few that come to mind.
From a fictional standpoint, The Galactic Empire of Star Wars fame, is arguably the most well-known dominion.
In boxing, greats such as “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather have all enjoyed experiences as the most polarizing constellation, amongst the solar system.
This current era was supposed to be Anthony “AJ” Joshua’s (22-1, 21 KO’s) reign.
Joshua was the pugilistic version of the British Empire. Like the British Empire, he fulfilled his own version of sovereignty; through championship unification and by capturing three of the four world titles in the heavyweight division.
But like Luke Skywalker, flying the X-wing down the Death Star’s channel, manufacturing the shot that destroyed the Death Star, Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz (33-1, 22 KO’s) playing spoiler, contrived the left hook that led to a series of knock downs for Joshua.
Ruiz would ultimately pummel Joshua into submission, earning victory in spectacular fashion and leaving the Joshua Empire in shambles.
Staying with the Star Wars theme, Ruiz epitomizes A New Hope – as it relates to the current dynamic of the heavyweight division.
While we have other champions, other great fighters such as WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (43-0-1, 42 KO’s) and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s) battling it out amongst each other in recent times, Joshua remained isolated from those challenges in his own realm.
While capturing three world titles may be deemed as impressive regardless of circumstance, it appeared there wasn’t a willingness from his side to face Wilder, or even Fury for that matter. Which is not to suggest those bouts would not manifest from fantasy to reality and there still is a chance of these bouts occurring eventually.
However Wilder believes the dreams of unification will not happen if Joshua regains his titles over Ruiz.
“I’m looking forward to him defeating AJ (Anthony Joshua) and winning a second time. He has all the momentum and courage. He knows what to do and I think he’s going to be victorious,” said Wilder to reporters.
“It would be great for boxing if he wins because then we can finally have a unification bout. One champion, one face, one name. ‘That’s not the case if AJ wins, he’s already stated that he has no interest in fighting me no more. In the heavyweight division it’s all about unifying the division. When you have two fighters who are in agreement about that then you have no choice but to go for that fighter and you want that fighter to win. There should just be one champion in this division…so go Ruiz!”
Backed by the current WBC heavyweight champion, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with a bad word to say about Ruiz. Even his former promoters speaks of the highest esteem regarding the first ever heavyweight champion of Mexican ancestry.
“We let Andy go because of the financial demands he was making,” said former promoter Bob Arum to Boxing Scene.
“We thought they were too high for us. We have never had anything but the utmost respect for Andy. He’s a terrific kid. He’s great. We enjoyed working with him. But these things happen. We didn’t renew with him and he went elsewhere and hit the lottery. Great for him. He deserves whatever he gets because he’s a nice person. When we parted with Andy, we made the right move. It happens.”
It’s possible Ruiz is introducing his own version of the Age of Discovery – ushering new life into the division and bringing about the possibility of unification bouts against Wilder and or Fury.
Since defeating Joshua this past summer, Ruiz has enjoyed his newfound wealth and acclaim to fame. A combination of buying lavish gifts for his family, performing charitable acts and living like a rock star, Ruiz realizes his distinction as heavyweight champion, affords these types of opportunities and does not want to relinquish the throne.
“Of course, I don’t want these beautiful belts to go away,” Ruiz said in the final press conference leading up to the rematch.
“Remember, I’ve been doing this since I was 6 years old. It’s finally paying off and no way I’m going to let these belts go. I’m going to die trying, and do anything that’s possible to get that victory. It’s been a long journey, a long roller coaster in my life, and no way I’m going to let these go Dec. 7. Let the best man win.”
Entering the rematch this weekend, we have the champion with retention on his mind. Also, the mindset of the former champion, now turned challenger, with the mentality of retaliation and retribution.
Joshua shares certain parallels with the Galactic Empire of Star Wars. While Joshua’s promotor, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, isn’t Emperor Palpatine and Joshua is not some treacherous force of evil, there is a collection of fans and media alike who dislike the former champion.
Sometimes a dominant force is not liked or accepted for whatever reason. The New England Patriots have many detractors, as with the New York Yankees. Different variables for each respective entity, but it doesn’t matter if you’re well liked. Kings and Queens rule regardless.
Referring back to Star Wars, the Empire regained control in the sequel and it remains to be seen if Joshua can do the same. He may tap into darker forces to create the result he wants.
If you’re a high profile champion such as Anthony Joshua losing like he did n this social media era is extremely rough but if he over comes this backlash and win clean he’s gonna be hard 2beat in the future ps I’m a fan of both fighters I jus wanna see a great fight #RuizJoshua2
— JulianJrockWilliams (@Jrockboxing) December 4, 2019
As mentioned earlier, subsequently in spite the events of A New Hope, the Empire still maintained control of the galaxy. Joshua is still the premier star heading into the rematch and regarded as the favorite. He is considered by most United Kingdom-based media outlets as the biggest star in the division.
In spite of the upset loss to Ruiz, all it takes is victory in the rematch and things can return to how they once were for Joshua.
Any aura of invincibility is certainly erased, but new levels of greatness may be on display by showcasing he can combat through adversity and show he never lost love or passion for the sport.
“I’ve been in boxing a while now and when I came into boxing, I didn’t come to take part, I came to take over, with full force, fully committed,” said Joshua in a press conference. “The focus has already been there but I never had a chance to reflect.”
“European Championships, World Championships, Olympics, British title, world title, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I am not here to put on a show, I am just here to win. I’ve been around the block in this game in a short space of time. So I have to understand that I am definitely experienced, I know what I am doing.”
“I still enjoy it 100%, because I am getting better all the time. You have someone like Vasyl Lomachenko, who is great but then you have some who get better with every fight, like Canelo Álvarez, and that is what I am. You are going to see me get better every step of the way. One loss can’t strip your skin off overnight, when you put your solid foundations in, one chip in the brick can’t destroy the whole building.”
If earlier claims are to remain true, as far as obtaining domination of the sport, Joshua must win this weekend. Moving forward, he must also conquer America. That means an eventual showdown with the Bronze Bomber.
If Joshua wants to establish complete supremacy, that may entail challenging another monarch. The Gypsy King.
“Me and Andy are very different, but the only thing that all of us in this room have in common is time. I have had to use my time very wisely. I didn’t lose any heart, I didn’t lose any fire in my belly. I’m just really looking forward to it. There’s no fear in my heart, no fear in my eyes, no fear in my mind.”
Joshua aims to complete the ultimate tale of redemption this weekend at Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Will the Empire strike back?
Ruiz-Joshua 2 Fight Preview
By: Sean Crose
What has turned out to be the most anticipated fight of the year is set to go down this Saturday in Saudi Arabia, at a sparkling new arena designed specifically for the event and set to seat a full 15,00 fans. It’s a unique location (some are arguing it’s sinister due to Saudi Arabia’s reputation as a human right violator) for a matchup no one could have imagined just a year ago. Yet here we are, with the – Andy Ruiz set to defend the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against the man he won them from in stunning fashion last June – the 22-1 Anthony Joshua.
Joshua was considered a star’s star up until the point where Ruiz stopped him in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden on June 1st of last spring. He had the power, the record, the physique and the personality of someone who might actually go from sport’s celebrity to household name. Yet the unassuming, pudgy Ruiz proved to be the all around better fighter that night. What’s more, some – many perhaps – think the Californian will prove to be the better fighter again this weekend. That’s what makes this matchup so interesting – no one is quite sure how it will go down.
The defending champion, at 6’2 is actually rather small in this era of super heavyweights. He’s also rather, well, heavy, with trainer Manny Robles assuming his man will enter the ring at around 268 pounds. Don’t let the size fool anyone, though, the Mexican American can box extremely well and has serious power. Perhaps most importantly, Ruiz has proven he can be cool under fire, a fact he demonstrated after being dropped by Joshua in the third round of their first go round. Getting himself together, Ruiz got to his feet, composed himself, then knocked Joshua down a total of four times on his way to the shocking 7th round win.
As for Joshua – fans may see a different fighter than they did the last time the man was in the ring. Much taller than Ruiz, the 6’6 Englishman still undoubtedly has power for days, but after what happened in June, it’s easy to imagine him trying to avoid Ruiz all night. In a strange sense, Joshua may make this fight like Leonard-Hearns 2, where the power punching Hearns boxed smart and played it safe. It’s also worth noting that Wladimir Klitschko, that safest of all heavyweight champions, has been giving Joshua advice leading up to his second battle with Ruiz.
Saturday’s card will also feature the 18-1 heavyweight Michael Hunter, as he hopes to make his name by earning a win over well known and regarded contender Alexander Povetkin, 35-2. Hunter has won six in a row since being bested as cruiserweight by Oleksandr Usyk back in 2017. Povetkin, on the other hand, can count Joshua and Klitschko as the only two men who have bested him in the ring. Povetkin won a unanimous decision over Hughie Fury (Tyson’s cousin) last August and is looking to keep on the comeback trail.
Dillan Whyte, whose single loss came at the gloved fists of Joshua almost a full four years ago, will also be on the card, hoping to improve his record to 27-1 as he faces the 35-5 Mariusz Wach in another heavyweight throwdown. Whyte, who has gone on to win 10 in a row since being stopped by Joshua, has been hanging tough in the heavyweight division for a while now, hoping for another chance at glory (which he deserves). Frankly, Wach shouldn’t prove much of a challenge, as he’s previously lost to the likes of Martin Bakole, Artur Szpilka, Jarrell Miller, Klitschko, and Povetkin. This being boxing, however, anything is possible.
The DAZN streaming service will air the card starting at 12 noon Eastern Time on Saturday. The main event is expected to go down around 4 PM Eastern Time.
Anthony Joshua Keys To Victory Against Andy Ruiz Jr 2
By: Hans Themistode
Anthony Joshua has a chance to be apart of history. This time, for the reason that he wants.
When the former Heavyweight champ crossed over the Atlantic to take on Andy Ruiz Jr, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, it was supposed to be the beginning of his take over. Instead, it turned into the end.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
As you know by now, Ruiz stopped the former champ in the seventh round of their contest. They are now set to do it again. Saying that his June 1st, matchup against Ruiz was the end is a little hyperbole but if he loses this rematch this weekend in Saudi Arabia, it certainly will.
Needless to say, this is a must win for Joshua. If he can take a break from his busy day and read these keys to victory, he will be able to call himself a champion once again.
Throw The Jab
With a four inch height advantage and a ridiculous eight inches in reach on his side as well, Joshua has a few physical features in his favor. For Ruiz to come out with this victory, he will need to come in close. Joshua on the other hand needs to keep him back.
When the fight is at long distance, Joshua should be able to make it a cake walk. When Ruiz finds his way inside however, it’s a whole different ball game. Ruiz is going to put the pressure on him but Joshua needs to make him pay every time he comes in.
The first contest between the two should be the fight of the year. This time around, Joshua should turn it into a boring matchup. When it comes to simply meeting in the center of the ring and slugging it out, Joshua is great at it, but Ruiz is on a whole other level.
“I just love to bang it out, so if that’s what he wants to do I’m cool with that.” Said Ruiz during a recent interview. “Banging it out” is not something that Joshua wants to do. Joshua is better than Ruiz in every category but when things are in close, Joshua enters the world of Ruiz.
Be Prepared Mentally
Listen, we can sit here and dissect Joshua all we want. The fact of the matter is that he is a great fighter. He doesn’t necessarily need to change his entire game plan in order to win this fight. He simply needs to show some mental toughness.
Joshua may have sported an undefeated record for over six years, but he has never been a perfect fighter. He has been hurt against Wladimir Klitschko, Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. In each of those fights however, he simply bit down on his mouthpiece and dug deep. Against Ruiz, he didn’t do that. If Joshua can simply come to grips with the fact that this will be the most difficult fight of his career, than he can overcome his mental issues and bring home his titles.
Andy Ruiz Jr Keys To Victory Against Anthony Joshua 2
By: Hans Themistode
It’s just about time for the rematch that many never saw coming. Andy Ruiz Jr may have walked out of Madison Square Garden, in New York City, on June 1st with the Heavyweight titles around his waist, but you have to believe in order for him to do it the second time around, it will take a lot of grit on his part.
Anthony Joshua seems more motivated than ever, but so does the current champion. Yet, for some reason, Ruiz is heavily doubted yet again. It isn’t hyperbole to call his first win one of the biggest upsets of all-time. It’s safe to say that if he pulls it off again, that it won’t be that much of a shock. What Ruiz wants at this point, is validation. One more win over Joshua will give him just that.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Nobody is expecting a cake walk but if Ruiz is who he says he is, then he can do it again.
Let’s take a look at his keys to victory.
Andy Ruiz Jr is a natural pressure fighter. He’s great in everything else as well, but he truly excels in the pressure department. In the first contest, Joshua really didn’t enjoy the constant duress he was under at all times.
With Joshua losing a ton of weight for the rematch, Ruiz believes he will try to out box him this time around. If that truly is the case, then Ruiz needs to ramp up his pressure on Joshua. The former champ has already proven that he can’t deal with it. If Ruiz can stay in his face all night, then he is most likely to walk out of there with another victory.
Combinations Up Top
Just about every fighter tries to land combinations, but they aren’t always successful. When Ruiz lets his hands go, he looks like a blur out there. Don’t let his big belly fool you, he’s much faster than you would think. In the first encounter whenever Ruiz got in striking distance, he didn’t waste his time with slow one twos. Instead, he pressed on the gas and hit Joshua with four or five shots at a time.
It’s clear that Ruiz has the edge in that department. Ruiz can’t get cute here. Get in close and let your hands go. Let’s see if Joshua will crumble underneath the pressure yet again.
Attack The Body
For as big and strong as Joshua may look, he sure does move around the ring a lot. There’s nothing wrong with it, but with the sort of hulking body that he has, you would think that he simply walks up to his opponents and pummels them into the ground. Nope, Joshua is much more of a boxer than you might think. With the former champion shedding a lot of those huge muscles, what makes you believe that he will simply walk to the center of the ring and bang with Ruiz?
It isn’t likely. If Ruiz finds himself having difficulty catching up to his on the move opponent, then he needs to go down to the body. It won’t win him any style points but it will certainly wear Joshua down and lead him to another victory.
Is Ruiz-Joshua2 Helping To “Sportswash” Saudi Arabian Human Rights Violations?
By: Sean Crose
“The plan,” promoter Eddie Hearn says via the Guardian “is to make Saudi Arabia the home of mega boxing. All due respect to Las Vegas, but this place has the ability to bring any fight they want here. We had a great meeting with them (Saudi officials) last night.” Such braggadocio is raising a few eyebrows on the eve of Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup between defending WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz, and the man he defeated last spring, the popular and thunderous punching Anthony Joshua. Although the Saudi Arabian location for the much hyped rematch is seen by some as unique and even exotic, there are those who strongly feel Saudi Arabia’s reputation for human rights abuses is problematic.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Yet Hearn, who represents Joshua, is quick to point out that he’s not the only Westerner doing business in the controversial kingdom. “I was driving up and down the road last night,” the Guardian quotes the promoter as saying, “thinking of all the criticism I’ve been getting. And I passed Gucci, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Versace and Ralph Lauren.” Hearn also claims that, in a sense, none of this is anyone’s business other than the people involved. “Although it is easy for us to also say Formula E, the tennis Super Cup, and the PGA Tour is here too,” he argues, “I also believe that no one has the right to tell a fighter how and where they can earn their money.”
For it’s own part, Saudi Arabia has gone out of it’s way to come across as just the kind of place promoters would want to turn to for big money, high profile events. A glistening arena that can sit fifteen thousand people has been erected just outside capital of Diriyah. The entire facility, which was essentially built in a matter of weeks, has drawn much attention from the media. Hearn has done his part to put a smiling face on the matter, being quoted in the Independant as saying he thinks this weekend’s fight can “break down barriers.”
Human rights organization Amnesty International, on the other hand, is clearly displeased with the bout’s unique location. “Despite the hype over supposed reforms,” Amnesty’s Felix Jakens told The Guardian last September, “Saudi Arabia is actually in the midst of a sweeping human rights crackdown, with women’s rights activists, lawyers and members of the Shia minority community being targeted.” Although Saudi Arabia stands accused of having such things as torture and beheadings allowed within its borders, Hearn claims the country is changing for the better. “The Saudis want to show they are changing,” Hearn claims, via the Guardian. “And they want a more positive image worldwide by bringing in events.”
Although it’s being accused of “sportswashing” it’s unsavory elements, the Saudi government may well be handsomely rewarded by it’s foray into high level boxing. Then again, no one can be certain how things will eventually work out. On Wednesday the Sun reported that “tickets for Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr has thought to have only sold around 75 per cent, with just over 11,000 fans expected at the arena in Saudi Arabia.”
Andy Ruiz’ Chill Factor
By: Sean Crose
Twenty one people had felt that power before. None of them were able to withstand it. Anthony Joshua, the defending WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion of the world, was simply that powerful. Andy Ruiz, however, was not like those twenty other men who had fallen before the towering Englishman. Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin, Dominic Breazeale, and even Wladimir Klitschko had ultimately crumbled under the force of Joshua’s punches. Ruiz, though, was determined not to join their number after Joshua sent him to the mat with a terrific left last June at Madison Square Garden. He looked like a man who had taken a good shot, to be sure. He also looked like a man whose nerves were battling to get the better of him. Yet Ruiz got to his feet, breathed a heavy sigh, and fought through the physical and psychological trauma he had endured just seconds earlier.
Photo Credit:Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
The rest, as they say, is history. And now, after ultimately beating Joshua in that thrilling first fight, Ruiz is looking for history to repeat itself in the rematch, which goes down this Saturday in Saudi Arabia. It’s an interesting match, to be sure. What’s more, Ruiz is an interesting character. Mild mannered, smiling, seemingly untroubled, he appears to be the polar opposite of some of the other top fighters in his division, outspoken types like Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. Yet there’s more to Ruiz than just the aw shucks persona he exudes. There’s also more to the man than the rapid fire combinations and firepower he showcases in the ring. In fact, what makes Ruiz so dangerous is the icy resolve he showed that night in New York just over six months ago. That, perhaps more than anything else, is what Anthony Joshua will have to overcome in Saudi Arabia this weekend. If, in fact, he can.
If one looks closely enough, it becomes clear that Ruiz’ chill factor, for lack of a better term, is evident throughout all aspects of his career. Here’s a man, after all, who has apparently never believed he had to join modern boxing’s body beautiful club. Call it laziness, self confidence, or just indifference, there clearly had to be a moment when it was pointed out to Ruiz that he’d be a better draw, or even a better fighter, if he’d just get himself a six pack. Yet the Mexican-American clearly never signed on to that way of thinking. Ruiz is also a man who didn’t go nuts when he lost a controversial decision to Joseph Parker back in their 2016 title fight. In fact, Ruiz arguably allowed himself to slide under the radar after that defeat. Rather than starting Twitter wars or screaming and shouting in video clips, Ruiz simply resolved himself to the fact that his chance would come again, which – of course – it did.
And now we have this most unlikely of modern champions ready to face the fiercely determined Joshua once more. He may have dropped a few pounds for this match, but don’t expect Ruiz to have dropped too many. That’s simply not the man’s style. It’s as if he’s resolved himself to succeeding with the body type he was born with or simply chooses to walk around with. Ruiz’ focus, on the other hand, will be getting to Joshua – and he’s sure to employ the same icy resolve this time in the ring as he did last June. Of course, this time Joshua will know the drill well, will have the ironic image of Ruiz’ passive face and brutally aggressive fists burned into his memory. He knows what to expect. Can Joshua do anything about it, though? That may well be the big question heading into Saturday’s match.
With that in mind, Ruiz probably shouldn’t expect to see the same Joshua in the ring that he saw last time. Joshua certainly doesn’t come across as stupid. One gets the feeling, though, that Ruiz isn’t concerned, that he’ll meet whatever strategy team Joshua brings his way this Saturday with the chill factor that’s served him so well up until this point. And if things get rough for the defending champion, if Joshua is once again able to hurt the man or start looking to be comfortably ahead on points, don’t expect Ruiz to start falling to pieces. If there’s one thing the world has learned about thirty year old, it’s that he remains gunfighter cool at all times.
“You know what?” Ruiz recently said to a Sky News reporter when asked if he felt extra pressure heading into this weekend. “In my mind, I already won, you know. I accomplished my dreams, what I wanted to do in life.” The response can be read as classic Ruiz. Yet the following statement to the same reporter, given seconds later, is indicative of this enigmatic titlist, as well. “Since I’ve been here (in Saudi Arabia) it’s already been switched on, you know. I’m ready to go, ready to rock and roll.”
Inside The Incredible Diriyah Arena
By: Hans Themistode
Amazing, ridiculous, unbelievable, unlike anything else in the world.
These are some of the words that have been chosen to describe the arena that will play host to the mega Heavyweight showdown between unified champion Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs) and former belt holder Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs).
Ever since these two men shared the ring against one another on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, the entire sports world was waiting for them to do it again.
After five total knockdowns between them, coupled with plenty of ebbs and flows during the bout, there June 1st, contest not only leads a loaded field in terms of fight of the year, but it has also produced one of the very best boxing matches in the history of the sport.
A fight of this magnitude can’t simply be placed in any arena. No, the occasion is much too big to be placed anywhere.
The United States has an abundance of great arenas. Madison Square Garden, in New York City, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York and the Staples Center in Los Angeles California are amongst the greatest arenas in the world. Not to mention there are also countless others.
Although these arenas and cities are more than worthy, the contest will instead take place elsewhere.
Halfway across the world in Diriyah Saudi Arabia, a 15,000 seat venue has been made essentially from scratch in order to host this event. It was made with more than 295 tonnes of steel and brings a certain unique look to it as well. Three stands are apart of the design while a fourth will be disconnected from the others. The purpose of these stands will be for the fighters changing rooms as well as VIP/hospitality areas and a TV studio. The fourth and much smaller stand that will be disconnected from the others is where the fighters will enter from. It will give the fans in attendance and those who are watching around the world the feeling that they are watching a gladiator styled event.
The stadium will also feature a Clearview seating system, which will allow fans the opportunity to view the ring without any issue no matter where they have decided to sit. It will be mounted on a substructure that has been provided by their partner, PERI Group.
The brains behind the entire operations is an installation group named Arena. This isn’t the first that Arena has created such a breathtaking site for a massive event. Earlier this year, Arena completed the largest single temporary hospitality structure in Japan. Needless to say, they have outdone themselves once again.
To place this venue in context, it is the single largest temporary seating arena that the company has built since the 2012 London Olympics.
What’s even more impressive is that it was completed it only six weeks with the help of 175 workers. Once the event has come to an end, it will take roughly one month to deconstruct the arena. As for the parts, amazingly, 95 percent of it will be used for other events in the future.
Although the arena in itself is ready right now, it will be reconfigured several times due to the various events that will take place this week.
In short, it is truly an awe-inspiring venue and one that they are proud of.
“It’s incredible what we’ve managed to achieve in just six weeks,” said CEO for Arena Middle East & Asia, Paul Berger. “We’re really proud of our UK and Middle East divisions, who have spent the last six weeks working with a team of 175 people to deliver a project of such scale and specification.
“We are one of the few companies that can offer a full turnkey solution for events of this size, from design and construction through to the luxurious high quality interiors and we are honoured to be involved in a part of history for the Diriyah season and this exciting series of mega events.”
Fans from all across the world seem to be impressed with the layout, but what about the participants?
“It’s going to be an incredible night and I’m thrilled so many of my fans are going to be there, particularly from the UK,” said Anthony Joshua. “It’ll definitely be a night people will tell their grandchildren they were at, one of those iconic evenings of boxing. Everyone from Saudi has been brilliant to work with.”
Equally impressed was Joshua’s opponent, Andy Ruiz.
“It’s amazing man, it’s crazy how they built everything in a month and a half. It’s amazing to be fighting over here, it’s going to be really historic and I’m planning to make history over here.”
A historic night of boxing deserves a venue to match. From the looks of it, the Diriyah Arena has done just that.