Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr have unfinished business. Well at least the former British world champion Joshua feels he has as he prepares to face the reigning heavyweigh champion in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
The Clash of the Dunes in Diriyah, Riyadh is set to bring the two fighters together for a rematch six months after Mexican-American Ruiz shocked the boxing world with a technical knock-out victory over the then unbeaten Joshua at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Those who haven't made the journey to Riyadh and looking to tune in in Dubai have a couple of options. Head to Burger & Lobster for a free seat to the scrap, or fork out Dhs250 for a seat at Reform Social & Grill tht includes food and drink.
To say Ruiz was an underdog would be an understatement. Ruiz had stepped in as an eleventh-hour replacement for Jarrell Miller. Looking overweight and out of shape, few gave him any hope of lasting the distance, never mind winning.
What followed was an upset to rank alongside Leon Spinks defeating Muhammad Ali in 1978 and, especially, James ‘Buster’ Douglas’s knock-out of then-invincible Mike Tyson in 1990.
Ruiz knocked Joshua down four times before the fight was stopped in the seventh round.
Though Joshua took the loss magnanimously at the time, he has since said he felt Ruiz was “lucky” and clearly believes that a rematch will see him retake what he feels is rightfully his.
Both fighter have only ever lost once.
Joshua has won 22 of 23 fights, with 21 of those knockouts. Meanwhile Ruiz record stands at 33 wins (22 KOs) from 34 fights.
Joshua, who goes into the fight as odds on favourite to retain his title, has already revealed that he sees himself fighting Ruiz for a third time, even as he is already being reportedly lined up to face fellow Briton Tyson Fury or American Deontay Wilder next year.
But first he must overcome Ruiz at the Clash of the Dunes. And if their last fight is anything to go by, this is far easier said than done, even if the champion has been accused of letting success get to his head. One thing is for sure, no one, least of All Joshua, will be taking the Mexican-American lightly this time around.