Andy Ruiz Jr has insisted that his heavyweight unified title rematch between him and Anthony Joshua will not take place in Saudi Arabia but on his own terms in the United States.
However, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn contested Ruiz Jr’s claims, stating that the contract the pair had signed clearly states the fight as taking place in the Middle East.
“The contract for the rematch was signed prior to the first fight,” Hearn said in a chat with Sky Sports. “They are both signed at the same time. There is no other contract.
“We have to let [Ruiz Jr] know the time, date and venue which we have done. That’s it.
“They are contractually bound for the rematch.
“There are no conversations between the two teams about not doing the fight. I don’t perceive a problem.
“He signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with, that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100 percent honour that contract.
“His choice is to have a legal battle that could put him out of boxing for years, or to defend his belts for a lot of money against a guy he has already beaten. There isn’t any doubt he will take the fight.”
Ruiz had earlier broken his silence on Instagram, insisting: ‘I know everybody’s talking about the fight and all that but we got the real news coming soon.
“Of course [I’m taking the rematch] but it’s going to be on our terms; we’re going to bring it back to the United States. The fight is going to happen soon.”
It comes after Joshua was defended by his promoter Hearn by deciding to take on Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia, a country noted for its poor human rights record.
Hearn said “the fight is definitely on” and that “Ruiz has 100 percent signed the contract despite the fake news that he is not going to Saudi Arabia.”
Plans to hype up the rematch have centered around holding a press tour, which will take in Riyadh, London and New York in the first week of September.
Hearn insisted Joshua was behind the idea to take the show on the road.
“This is AJ’s decision, as always,” Hearn said. “He has no concerns about going there and does not see this as a risk to his reputation. He sees himself as a boxer who can fight wherever he wants for the exposure, the money and the opportunity to expand boxing to new regions.
“He has always wanted to box around the world like Ali and he knows that if he regains his titles in a fight this huge it will open up global opportunities for himself and the sport.”