Anthony Joshua will face Andy Ruiz Jr next month in a career defining rematch following his dramatic defeat in New York City last June.
AJ lost his world heavyweight titles in stunning fashion on his American debut, being put down four times as Ruiz Jr pulled off one of boxing’s biggest ever upsets.
While fans around the world wanted Joshua to face Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury next, his first defeat as a professional has blown the showpiece division wide open.
Joshua’s next fight will be a must-win rematch against Ruiz Jr as he looks to get his belts back.
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The Joshua vs Ruiz Jr rematch will be held on Saturday, December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
As Joshua handed Ruiz the opportunity to face him to begin with, AJ’s camp has been contractually able to call the shots with regards to where this second fight will take place.
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@andy_destroyer13 vs @anthony_joshua #2xworldchampion
Despite this, getting a date and venue confirmed proved difficult once again.
While Cardiff’s 80,000 capacity Principality Stadium was the preferred option, Ruiz Jr made it clear he would not travel to the UK throwing the rematch into doubt.
But Eddie Hearn and co have settled on Saudi Arabia with the bout being promoted as the ‘Clash on the Dunes’.
In the past year, the Middle Eastern nation has delved into boxing in a big way, hosting Callum Smith vs George Groves and Amir Khan vs Billy Dib.
Joshua and Ruiz Jr took part in a three-day press tour in September, holding press conferences in Saudi Arabia, New York and London.
First images revealed of new Saudi arena to host Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch
And AJ has warned his rival that he will only be the world heavyweight champion until they meet again.
He said: “I feel I was up against a good challenger at the time and, as I mentioned [before that fight], I was only champion until June 1.
“As Andy’s champion right now, that will only last until December 7.
“Until he has to put his titles in the air, two warriors go to war and the best man will walk out victorious.”
Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr: Tale of the tape
Joshua – Ruiz Jr
Nationality: British – American
Age: 30 – 29
Height: 6ft 6 – 6ft 2
Stance: Orthodox – Orthodox
Reach: 82 in – 74 in
Record: 22-1-0 – 33-1-0
KOs: 21 – 22
Rounds: 91 – 151
Debut: 5/10/2013 – 28/03/2009
Nickname: AJ – Destroyer