RUIZ VS. JOSHUA 2 WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER
All times are local
18:30 FIRST BELL
4 x 3 mins Lightweight contest
MAJID AL NAQBI 9st 7lbs v ILIA BERUASHVILI 8st 12lbs
19:00 WORLD FEED ON AIR
8 x 3 mins WBC Middle East Lightweight Title
ZUHAYR AL QAHTANI 9st 8lbs v OMAR DUSARY 9st 3lbs
(Saudi Arabia) (Kuwait)
20:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS BOX OFFICE AND DAZN
8 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
MAHAMMADRASUL MAJIDOV 16st 7lbs v TOM LITTLE 17st 13lbs
12 x 3 mins WBC International Heavyweight Title
FILIP HRGOVIC 17st 3lbs v ERIC MOLINA 17st 10lbs
10 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
DILLIAN WHYTE 19st 5lbs v MARIUSZ WACH 19st 4lbs
12 x 3 mins WBA Heavyweight World Title Eliminator
ALEXANDER POVETKIN 16st 5lbs v MICHAEL HUNTER 16st 2lbs
23:45 MAIN EVENT RING WALKS START
12 x 3 mins WBA, IBF, WBO & IBO Heavyweight WORLD TITLES
ANDY RUIZ JR 20st 3lbs v ANTHONY JOSHUA 16st 13lbs
4 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight contest
HOPEY PRICE 8st 13lbs v SWEDI MOHAMED 8st 13lbs
4 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
DIEGO PACHECO 11st 13lbs v SELEMANI SAIDI 11st 12lbs
Andy Ruiz, Jr. and Anthony Joshua OBE addressed the media for the final time ahead of their Saturday rematch, a fight that has been lauded as the most significant heavyweight title fight in more than a decade.Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 will take place this Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at a purpose-built arena with an expected sold-out crowd of more than 15,000 fans. The fight is available exclusively on DAZN in the United States with the main card beginning at 12 p.m. ET and the main event expected to commence shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET.
Quotes from Today’s Press Conference
Andy Ruiz, current unified heavyweight world champion
On being prepared for Saturday: “It’s been a long three months of camp. I’ve been training really hard for this fight. Like June 1, I made history, and I think the importance is to remake history on Dec. 7 in Saudi Arabia. Not much to say, but I’m ready to rock and roll, I know AJ is going to come in with a different game plan. I know he’s prepared, motivated, being more cautious – I know he’s going to try and box me around. My job is to prepare for whatever comes my way.”
On whether he is motivated: “Of course, I don’t want these beautiful belts to go away. Remember I’ve been doing this since I was six, it’s finally paying off, and no way I’m going 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, long roller coaster in my life, and no way I’m going to let these go Dec. 7. Let the best man win.”
Anthony Joshua, former unified heavyweight world champion
On this being a great opportunity: “It’s interesting to be on this side of the table, as you said in my 16th fight, I challenged for the world title, challenged for the title again with Klitschko, then Parker, and now I’m challenging again, so this is my fourth title challenge in a short space of time. I’m used to being in this position, and even when you’re champion, I think Andy being a respected heavyweight he knows you have to have the challenge and mindset. All these quotes that these fighters come up with is reality, challenger mindset. I’ve said that previously when I had the belts around my waist. Now I’m speaking this into existence, this is my challenge and mindset. So I’m going back to my 16th fight, focused and determined on the goal.”
On feeling less pressure without the belts: “I’ve been boxing a while now, and when I came into boxing I didn’t really come to take part, I came to take over. I came with full force, fully committed. The focus has already been there, but never had a chance to reflect. It was European Championships, Olympics Championships, British Title, World Championships. I’m not here to put on show I’m here to win. I’ve been around the block for a short space of time, so you have to understand I’m experienced and know what I’m doing. Through reflection in my own time, me and Andy are very different, but like everyone in this room we have time. I just have to use my time and as soon as I got back from New York I got that commitment back, got into shape, I didn’t lose any heart, didn’t lose any fire in my belly, started hitting the heavy bag, preparing for this day. I’m actually really looking forward to it. No fear in my heart, no fear in my eyes. I’m just looking forward to putting on a show, and I’m confident.”
On how special a win will be: “I was asked if this will be a special moment and I said no because I know I belong there. It’s not special, I’ve been there, I know what I’m doing. When I regain those belts I will probably keep calm and stay focused. It’s not a time to celebrate, it’s time to keep that challenge, mindset and find the next target, so one by one I’m picking them off. I’ve been doing that since I started boxing and Ruiz is just my next target on my list.”
On fighting in Saudi Arabia: “This the Mecca of boxing I’m hearing. The real Mecca of boxing. I’m going to turn this into something special, a real event. As you can see we have put together a great undercard and a great show. I went to the venue, its perfect, perfectly designed, said my prayers, I took time to really embrace what’s going to happen Saturday. I’m just going in with confidence, and I want everyone to have that same confidence and have a great time.”
Manny Robles, Andy Ruiz’s trainer
On defending the belts: “It’s been three months of preparation which is something we didn’t have for the last fight. I’m very pleased to say we had a great camp, perfect sparring partners, perfect time, perfect time to prepare to come up with a better game plan. Understand we have a very difficult task in front of us. We respect him, and we know he’s a great fighter. We’re going to be ready for the task. Andy has a had a great camp, and mentally and physically prepared for the challenge. We look forward to it. I hope no one walks away disappointed Saturday night.”
On being this being a different fight: “Absolutely it will be a different fight. We worked hard, we’re ready for the challenge. We’re taking this fight very seriously, we’ve been very tough on him, Andy knows it. He’s been focused, ready to go every day. We’re up to the challenge.”
Robert McCracken, Anthony Joshua’s trainer
On Joshua’s mindset going into this fight: “Anthony is in a much better place than last time at this stage, and I’m much happier with where he’s at. Everybody has said his training camp has gone really well. We’ve been training well out here in Saudi. Anthony has been training at the British Embassy, he’s got his own facility, and able to train diligently and hard. Listen we know how good Ruiz is, we know he’s a top heavyweight fighter, and he’s the champion. We’re totally confident, completely different mood going into this fight than back in New York. And I think you will see the real AJ for sure.”
On having more time to train: “For Andy Ruiz we had about five week notice for the last fight, at the same time Anthony’s opponent pulled out, so we had to restructure and change things, but with Ruiz’s ability that isn’t easy to do, but that isn’t a excuse. The right man won on the night, they both had 12 weeks to prepare for this fight, I think it’s a level playing field now. I think Anthony knows exactly what is in front of him, the sparring partners have been tailored to suit what Andy does. I think it you will see the real AJ on Saturday night and see a great performance.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing
“We talked about our friend Neil Leifer who is here with us in Riyadh. Neil was on the canvas taking photos for the “Thrilla in Manila” and the “Rumble in Jungle” and on Saturday, he will be there for “Clash on the Dunes.” It will be another historic night for the sport of boxing and a heavyweight that will go down as one of the biggest ever. Andy Ruiz shocked the world in New York in June and now they enter this fight totally differently – Ruiz is the champion and Anthony Joshua is the challenger. This fight has everything.
“We were very close to going to Cardiff, and very close to taking this rematch back to Madison Square Garden in New York. We even looked at Mexico. I had finally made the decision to keep the fight in the UK but then I got the call from Saudi. I think I was quite rude at first actually, I told them not to waste their time because we were taking the fight to Cardiff. But the passion they had to bring this fight to Saudi Arabia was unmatched and within four or five days, we have an agreement to stage this fight here. Sometimes there was shock and criticism, but this was an absolutely wonderful decision. The hospitality from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been incredible. The fighters have had an amazing experience here with first class facilities being specifically built for them to prepare. The is a new dawn for the sport of boxing.
“We are thankful for our friends at DAZN. Just one year in, they have completely changed the face of boxing in America. Look at the names they have already brought to their wonderful platform: Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz, Oleksandr Usyk, Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin, and the list goes on and on. It is a wonderful time to be involved with the DAZN business and there’s such a bright future ahead for them.”
The rematch is a result of the shocking upset in June by Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) who became the first professional fighter to ever best Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) after taking the fight on just five weeks’ notice. Their first fight is leading contender for 2019 ‘Fight of the Year’ honors for the unexpected drama that unfolded at Madison Square Garden. Ruiz’s IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles are at stake when the two men enter the ring this Saturday.
Fans in the United States can sign up for a full year of DAZN for the low price of $99.99 to catch Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 and a highly-anticipated 2020 boxing schedule, or $20 for an action-packed December which also includes Daniel Jacobs vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. on Dec. 20.
Anthony Joshua OBE: “Thank you all for your hospitality, to the people and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I never thought that I would be fighting outside of London or America so it is a blessing and I am humbled to be here. With the fight, I feel that I was up against a good challenger at the time and I was only champion until June 1, as Andy is champion now, that will last until December 7 when he has to put his titles in the air and two warriors will go to war and the best man will walk out victorious. I am really looking forward to the challenge and I am glad the people here are supporting boxing. Some may support me, others may support Andy, but at the end of the day we are going to have a really good night of boxing and that is what we are all here for.
“My parents and their heritage is from Nigeria and I was born in England. I started boxing when I moved to London and my cousin was training. I was only doing it as a mindset thing. I needed to change my mindset when I was younger, I was getting in some sorts of trouble and I wasn’t really focused on my education as such. Being around the older generation and the wise generation they gave me advice and a lot of game that I could use on my day to day life and I started thinking as an individual. In three years from being a novice in the gym I was competing at the Olympics and by that point I had been to so many countries around the world representing Great Britain.
“I turned professional and based myself in England where I won the gold medal and I have been competing out of Great Britain ever since until I went to America when I lost my titles. I should say ‘the’ titles because I believe that being a champion is more than just having belts which I have always said, being a champion has responsibilities and it’s about having a championship mindset. The belts will go in the air and we will fight for them again and this time around it’s not London, it’s not America, it is Saudi Arabia.”
Andy Ruiz Jr:
“I’m really happy to be here and I thank everybody. On June 1 I made my dreams come true with a lot of sacrifice, blood and tears. I just believed in myself and I think I am here for a purpose and I just want to tell everybody that if they have a dream they’ve got to follow through with it and everything is possible.
On December 7 I know that Anthony Joshua is going to come hard, he’s going to come strong and will be preparing really well but so am I. I’m really hungery, a lot of people have been saying that I’m not training or taking it seriously but come on I have all these belts and there is responsibilities to this. I am going to try my best and I’m going to keep these belts and take them back to Mexico. On December 7 I am going to make history again and win here in the same fashion and the same way that I won on June 1 and I am going to prove everybody wrong.
“The hunger still remains, I don’t want 15 minutes of fame I want this to last for a generation. I want to be a champion for many years and I have a good fighter next to me who is going to try and take these belts but god is with me and we’re going to be training really hard for December 7.
“I expect a tougher test this time round, he is more hungry and wants his belts back but that is what is motivating me and making me more hungry. I want to train harder because I know he is, I only had a month, month and a half, to train for the first fight but this time we have a whole camp so it benefits me. It is going to be an exciting fight, a hell of a fight – two big Heavyweights punching each other in the face – tune in December 7, it’s going to be a hell of a fight.”
RUIZ THREATENS TO BEAT JOSHUA “EVEN FASTER” IN SAUDI ARABIA
Andy Ruiz Jr has warned Anthony Joshua that he could beat him “even faster” than he did when he ripped the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts from ‘AJ’ on a memorable night at Madison Square Garden in New York back in June.
The pair collide for a second time at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on Saturday December 7 in one of the most highly-anticipated Heavyweight rematches in decades, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
‘The Destroyer’ believes Joshua will aim to regain his crowns by adopting a cautious in-ring strategy following their explosive first meeting that saw Ruiz knock down Joshua four times on route to a monumental seventh round stoppage win.
“I’m expecting that,” said Ruiz Jr. “But if he wants to bang, it’s better for me. I love to bang because that’s the fighter that I am. December 7 we have to pressure, work the body, break him down. Especially his mentality.
“We’ve got to see where he’s at because all the pressure is on him. The pressure isn’t on me because I followed my dream, made my dreams come true. Of course I want more though – I want the legacy of Andy Ruiz Jr.”
Ruiz Jr had previously explained that his sparring partners were being “slick” in anticipation of Joshua trying to be elusive.
“People haven’t seen me cut off the ring,” Ruiz Jr warned. “I actually break them down even faster when they try to box me around. We all have a plan until we get hit, like Mike Tyson would say. I’m pretty sure he will want to box me around.
“One punch can change the fight. That’s what happened on June 1. It might be a little harder than the first time. I’ve got to show my skills, my talent.”
Ruiz Jr’s only defeat in 34 fights came via majority decision to Joseph Parker in 2016, a verdict he still disputes. He insists that his style will always be a problem for Joshua.
“Especially me staying small. I don’t think he likes fighting against that style. I don’t think he’s ever fought a short guy that pressures, and is pretty slick. I felt like I was boxing him around even though I was the shorter guy. I was counter-punching him. When he would throw, I would throw back with more punches.
“He saw something that he’s never seen before. People said before, who would you rather fight: Joshua, Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury? I always said Joshua because of his style. Styles make fights. His style was perfect for me to become the unified Heavyweight Champion.”
“I’LL MAKE HISTORY AGAIN” VOWS ANDY RUIZ AS HE LANDS IN SAUDI ARABIA FOR CLASH ON THE DUNES
Heavyweight World Champion Andy Ruiz Jr has vowed to “make history again” as he landed in Saudi Arabia for the Clash On The Dunes, bringing his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO title belts with him.
The Mexican-American fighter followed his challenger Anthony Joshua into the Kingdom, touching down at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in the early hours of today to set up his own training camp to prepare for the epic bout on December 7.
The first-ever Heavyweight World Title fight to take place in the Middle East will be staged in the custom-built 15,000 seat Diriyah Arena which is now ready for action in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the home of heroes and kings.
When asked how he felt about boxing in the Kingdom for the first time, Andy Ruiz said: “It feels good. You know I made history in New York and I’ll make history again in Saudi Arabia.”
Joshua will be looking to regain the title belts on the line after losing them to Ruiz – known as ‘The Destroyer’ – at their first meeting in New York earlier this year.
With hundreds of fans from throughout the US travelling for the bout, the collective number of kilometers travelled by Americans is a significantly larger commitment than any other fans from across the world, with tickets sold in 60 different countries. But his fans will have to their work cut out to match the volume of Joshua’s followers with thousands flying in from the UK.
DILLIAN WHYTE ADDED TO CLASH ON THE DUNES
Final undercard additions confirmed for Ruiz vs. Joshua 2
Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte has landed a spot on the colossal Andy Ruiz Jr vs. Anthony Joshua 2 World title rematch taking place at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on Saturday December 7, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Whyte will take on Poland’s former World title challenger Mariusz Wach in his first fight back since climbing off the canvas to outpoint Oscar ‘Kaboom’ Rivas in an exciting battle at The O2 in London back in July that saw him move to 26-1 (18 KOs).
Wach (35-5, 19 KOs) was due to face Whyte back in 2017 before ‘The Body Snatcher’ withdrew from their contest with an injured foot, but ‘The Viking’, a former opponent of Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, will now have the opportunity to lock horns with Whyte following back to back wins in his homeland.
Fellow Brit Tom Little (10-7, 3 KOs) will also be targeting a huge upset on the undercard as he takes on Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1 KO), the former world amateur champion.
Alexander Povetkin’s explosive encounter with Michael Hunter has already been confirmed, along with Filip Hrgovic’s step-up in class against Eric Molina on an action-packed evening of Heavyweight fights.
The talented young duo of Leeds Super-Bantamweight Hopey Price (1-0) and Los Angeles Super-Middleweight Diego Pacheco (7-0, 6 KOs) will also be eager to impress at Diriyah Arena.
“I’m delighted to be fighting in Saudi Arabia against Mariusz Wach,” said Whyte. “He’s probably got one of the best chins in the Heavyweight division.
“I have been training and working hard to fight so it’s great to get a date and it’s very exciting for me to be fighting somewhere different like Saudi Arabia.
“I want to fight in different places and different settings and this card has the biggest Heavyweight fight on it that we have seen in years.
“I’m just going to keep chasing the World titles, so if I keep winning then I hope to land that World title shot in 2020, that’s the plan for December 7.”
“This wraps up a huge card for what will be a historic night for the sport,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing. “Ten big Heavyweights will descend on Diriyah to cause a shockwave through World boxing as Saudi Arabia hosts one of the biggest Heavyweight fights of all time. Ten days to go!”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Anthony Joshua’s epic rematch night has even more heavyweight fireworks as Dillian Whyte battles Mariusz Wach on a bill which is brimming with big punchers.
“Whyte will be seeking to showcase his power against the battle-hardened Mariusz Wach, while the likeable Tom Little receives a dream fight against Mahammadrasul Majidov, the former world amateur champion.
“Hopey Price and Diego Pacheco are also keen to display their talent on a momentous night for the sport as we build towards Joshua’s spectacular showdown with Ruiz Jr.”
Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 tops a huge night of boxing in Saudi Arabia.
Russian powerhouse Alexander Povetkin (35-2, 24 KOs) returns from his August triumph over Hughie Fury to take on USA’s fast-rising Heavyweight talent Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs) in an Eliminator for the WBA World Title, Brixton Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs) takes on Poland’s former World Title challenger Mariusz Wach (35-5, 19 KOs), undefeated Croatian Heavyweight star Filip Hrgovic (9-0, 7 KOs) steps up to face former World Title challenger Eric Molina (27-5, 19 KOs) as he puts his WBC International Championship on the line for the third time, Tom Little (10-7, 3 KOs) will be targeting a huge Heavyweight upset as he takes on former Amateur Word Champion Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1 KO), and the talented young duo of Leeds Super-Bantamweight Hopey Price (1-0) and Los Angeles Super-Middleweight Diego Pacheco (7-0, 6 KOs) will also be eager to impress at Diriyah Arena, Zuhayr Al Qahtani (7-0) clashes with Omar Dusary (7-0-1, 1 KO) for the WBC Middle East Lightweight Title and UAE Lightweight Majid Al Naqbi (3-0, 1 KO) aims to improve his perfect record.
The Clash On The Dunes presented by PIF forms part of the Diriyah Season, an epic month of sports which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.
The Diriyah Season is also supported by the Diriyah Music Festival with huge concerts taking place around the event. On December 6, the night before the Clash On The Dunes, major artists who are yet to be announced will perform. So far artists such as Imagine Dragons, DJ Alan Walker, Clean Bandit and Maluma have performed to 40,000 concert goers.
Tickets for all of the Diriyah Season’s spectacular events, concerts and entertainment will be available at www.diriyahseason.sa. Follow Diriyah Season’s news and announcements on the official social media pages on twitter and Instagram @diriyahseason.