Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. moved one step closer to a possible fight with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder after scoring three knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision victory over Luis Ortiz in their WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator Sunday night from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles(FOX PPV).
The first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent won by scores of 114-111(twice) and 113-112.
Photos: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions
Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) knocked Ortiz down two times in the second round and one time in the seventh. In the second round, Ruiz delivered a clean right hand to score his first knockdown, and Ortiz (33-3, 28 KOs) would hit the canvas a second time in the round from Ruiz combination.. In round seven, Ruiz struck again, backing his opponent up with a straight right before moving close and dropping Ortiz with an overhand right.
“Everyone was doubting me, but I worked so hard for this fight,” Ruiz said. “Ortiz is a warrior who hits hard. I did a beautiful job boxing him around. I showed more class than I usually do just coming forward.”
To Ortiz’s credit, he battled in this fight. In fact, Ortiz even owned a slight 78-76 edge in punches landed according to CompuBox, but it was Ruiz’s 67 power punches to Ortiz’s 56 that made the difference.
“I told you I was going to be a warrior, and that’s what I did,” said Ortiz. “This is Cuba vs. Mexico. This is what I live for. To everyone who said that I’m old, I gave you a war today. There are always surprises in boxing, and that’s what you got if you didn’t think I’d give it my all.”
After the fight, Ruiz stated his willingness to meet Wilder in a possible blockbuster showdown if Wilder is successful in his ring return on October 15 against Robert Helenius on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View. Wilder, who was ringside, seemed interested in the potential matchup.
“If Deontay Wins in October, me and him are with the same management, and we can make this fight happen,” said Ruiz Jr. “Let’s do it. Let’s get it on. I’m hungry, and I want to be champion again and bring that belt back to Mexico.”
Wilder-Ruiz is a big fight and, as Ruiz said, an easy fight to make since both fighters are with PBC. It would be interesting to see if Ruiz could stand up to Wilder’s power or whether Wilder could avoid getting caught with those explosive shots from Ruiz.
Would be fun to find out!!
Top heavyweight contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz held a media workout in Las Vegas on Thursday as he nears his WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator against former unified champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr.(34-2, 22 KOs), taking place September 4 from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Ortiz(33-2, 28 KOs) is coming off a stoppage win over Charles Martin on New Year’s Day, and according to Ortiz, who was dropped twice against Martin, he returned to the gym right away after the victory.
“I feel so good both physically and mentally,” he said. “I’m eagerly awaiting this fight, and you’re not going to want to miss it when we get in that ring.
“After I fought Charles Martin, I was back in the gym a week later. Whether I have a fight or not, I’m always active and staying ready.”
At age 43, Ortiz does not have much time to become a world champion, and even at his advanced age, Ortiz says he still feels young.
“I’m always trying to reach the top of the mountain,” Ortiz said. “I want the top prize. This is a very important fight for me, but so is every fight. They all get me closer to another world title shot.
“It’s all about training, training, and more training. I feel better now than I did when I was 25.”
Beating a former world champion like Ruiz won’t be easy. However, the man that gave Ortiz his only two losses, Deontay Wilder, who surprised Ortiz and attended the media workout in Las Vegas, thinks the Cuba native will get the job done on September 4.
“I’m going with my heart, and Luis Ortiz is a fighter with heart,” Wilder said. “Why do you think so many other fighters wouldn’t give him a chance?”
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Ortiz appreciates Wilder’s prediction and has plans to stop Ruiz.
“I respect Deontay Wilder a lot, and I appreciate him picking me in this fight,” Ortiz said. “My intention is to knock out Andy Ruiz. One of us is getting knocked out, and I can guarantee this one doesn’t go to the judges.”
This is a 50-50 fight for sure. Ortiz still has power but looked a little shaky at times against Martin, and Ruiz was also dropped in his last fight against Chris Arreola, so Ortiz is probably right; someone is getting knocked out.
Former unified heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. and top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz will meet in a much-anticipated 12-round WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator headlining a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on September 4 in a Labor Day Weekend clash from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
The pay-per-view telecast will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and feature a stacked lineup of rising and accomplished stars in high-stakes matchups. In the co-main event, hard-hitting Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz will step in to take on fellow Mexican and veteran contender Eduardo Ramírez in a 12-round WBC Lightweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event.
The action will also see the return of popular three-division champion Abner Mares in his first action in three years as he battles former title challenger Miguel Flores in a 10-round super featherweight attraction, plus exciting rising star José Valenzuela duels former world champion Jezreel Corrales in the 10-round lightweight pay-per-view opener.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) shocked the boxing world in 2019 when he was brought in as a late replacement to face heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua and turned the tables on the champion, knocking him out in the seventh round and taking home the titles. The 32-year-old from Imperial, California lost his rematch with Joshua by unanimous decision, but returned to the ring in May 2021, bouncing back from an early knockdown to defeat all-action contender Chris Arreola by unanimous decision in a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View. Ruiz has taken down a slew of contenders throughout his heralded career, which dates back to a prolific amateur run that included two Mexican Amateur National Championships.
“I’m so excited to get back in the ring in front of all of my fans in Los Angeles on September 4,” said Ruiz. “This is my chance to prove to everyone that I’m going to be heavyweight champion of the world again. I’m super motivated to be facing a great fighter like Luis Ortiz, so my fans can expect to see me at my best. Everyone has wanted to see this fight and we’re going to give everyone a war on fight night.”
With exceptional power and sublime technical skills, Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) has been a fixture atop heavyweight rankings for years, with his only defeats coming in memorable contests against former longtime heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Born in Camaguey, Cuba and trained by longtime coach Herman Caicedo in Miami, Ortiz won three bouts between Wilder contests, defeating Travis Kauffman, Christian Hammer and Razvan Cojanu. Most recently, Ortiz topped a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on New Year’s Day, recovering from early adversity to floor former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin on his way to a sixth-round knockout.
“I’m blessed to be back in a position to get closer to achieving my goal of becoming the first heavyweight champion of the world from Cuba,” said Ortiz. “Anyone who doubts me, has only fueled me to keep going. I know that I have to make a big statement in this fight, and that’s my plan on September 4. I respect Andy Ruiz, but he’s standing in my way and I’m going to do whatever it takes to go through him.”
The 24-year-old Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KOs) returned to the ring in April with a knockout over former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa after dropping a competitive decision against three-division champion Gervonta Davis last December. A native of Mexico City, Cruz shot up the lightweight rankings in 2020, announcing his presence with an electrifying first-round knockout over veteran Diego Magdaleno in October. Cruz followed that up in 2021 by winning a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Matías Romero in March and by defeating former champion Francisco Vargas by decision in June ahead of the Davis clash.
“I’m very happy and motivated to come back in the ring in front of the great fans in Los Angeles on September 4,” said Cruz. “I’ll be facing a very good opponent and I’ll be back at the same arena where I faced one of the best fighters in the division in Gervonta Davis. Stepping back into the ring there is pumping me up even more and I can’t wait to start throwing my hands on fight night.”
Fighting out of Sinaloa, Mexico, Ramírez (27-2-3, 12 KOs) has moved himself into title contention with five-straight victories as he looks to make a splash in his lightweight debut against Cruz. The 29-year-old most recently earned a decision victory over Luis Melendez in May, which followed up a dominant decision against Miguel Marriaga in December 2021. Ramírez is currently riding wins in seven of his last eight fights since losing to then featherweight champion Lee Selby in 2017.
“I am coming up in weight for this fight, but that just means I’ll be that much stronger,” said Ramírez. “I’m excited for this opportunity, because after I win, I will be recognized as a top fighter in my new division. He’s not going to outbox me and he can’t knock me out, so he has no way to win. I’m planning on showing the world what I can do against a perfect opponent for me.”
One of the most accomplished fighters of this era, Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) will return to the ring in a bid to continue adding to his already sterling resume in the sport. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and now living in Montebello, Calif., Mares was a member of the Mexican Olympic boxing team in the 2004 Athens Olympics before going on to win world titles at bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight. His two battles for the featherweight world title against Leo Santa Cruz epitomized the kinds of high-volume clashes that set Mares apart from many of his contemporaries. Throughout his career, Mares owns victories over top contenders and champions including Daniel Ponce De Leon, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko, Anselmo Moreno and Jesus Cuellar.
“I know everyone is used to seeing me suited and booted on T.V. talking about the beautiful sport of boxing, but let me remind everyone, I’m a bad m-f’er in the ring, and on September 4, the world is going to remember what they missed,” said Mares. “I’m the best in boxing in speed, power, intelligence, and good looks. Miguel Flores is on my radar, and I’m sorry to say, he’s going back to elementary school after meeting me. I’m a master in this game, and I’m back. Welcome to Team Mares 2022.”
Flores (24-4, 12 KOs) bounced back from back-to-back defeats in his previous outing that took place last June, as he earned a decision over Diuhl Olguin. The 29-year-old had lost a pair of contests in challenging four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz in November 2019 and top contender Eduardo Ramirez in December 2020. Born in Mexico and now residing in Spring, Texas, Flores turned pro in 2009 at just 17-years-old and was victorious in his first 22 bouts.
“I’m very motivated to be on the big stage once again and I’m excited to get into the ring,” said Flores. “This is a huge opportunity for me against a three-division champion and I’m doing everything I can to make the most of it. This is Michoacán vs. Guadalajara and we’re going to give all the fans a great show on September 4.”
The 23-year-old Valenzuela (12-0, 8 KOs) trains as a stablemate of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavidez as he looks to continue cementing his contender status in 2022. Valenzuela was sensational his last time in the ring as he blasted out former world champion Francisco Vargas via a round-one knockout in April. Born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Valenzuela turned pro in 2018 and rode a five-bout knockout streak before earning his first 10-round decision in a victory over Deiner Berrio in September 2021.
“I’m extremely motivated for this fight,” said Valenzuela. “My opponent is an accomplished former champion and this is the kind of challenge that I’ve been asking for. I’m going to come into this fight extremely prepared to make another statement on September 4 and give the fans a great show like I always do.”
The 30-year-old Corrales (26-4, 10 KOs) has won three-straight fights since moving up to lightweight in 2021 and has ascended to the number two ranking in the WBA. Fighting out of San Miguelito, Panama, Corrales won a super featherweight title in 2016 when he went to Japan and knocked out Takashi Uchiyama before winning a decision in their rematch. He also owns victories over current former champion Rene Alvarado and veteran contender Robinson Castellanos.
“Valenzuela is a good young fighter with some skills, but he doesn’t have the experience to handle what I’m bringing to the ring,” said Corrales. “This is going to be like when the great Panamanian champion Roberto Duran took Davey Moore to school. Class is going to be in session on September 4 and no amount of studying is going to have him ready for what I’m planning to do.”
Former unified heavyweight world champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz, Jr. will battle all-action heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola in the main event of an all-Mexican boxing extravaganza on Saturday, May 1, headlining a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The pay-per-view begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with an undercard stacked from top to bottom with fan-friendly, action-packed matchups, as the co-feature will see former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa, Jr. clash with Abel Ramos in a 12-round welterweight bout. Sensational super welterweight contender Sebastián “The Towering Inferno” Fundora takes on hard-hitting Jorge “El Demonio” Cota in a 12-round battle and rising welterweight star Jesús Ramos, Jr., the nephew of Abel Ramos, duels U.S. Olympian Javier “El Intocable” Molina for 10-rounds of welterweight action.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 26 at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at AXS.com. Dignity Health Sports Park will be open to fans in a limited capacity, with all guests remaining socially distanced and subject to local and state health guidelines throughout the event.
The FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View is priced at $49.95.
Ruiz and Arreola, two Mexican-American heavyweights from Southern California, have been circling each other for years. They both had designs on becoming the first fighter of Mexican descent to win the heavyweight title. Ruiz won it and lost it, while Arreola still hungers for it. This high-stakes match will determine who remains in the hunt.
Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) shocked the boxing world in 2019 when he was brought in as a late replacement to face heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua and turned the tables on the champion, knocking him out in the seventh round and taking home the titles. The 31-year-old from Imperial, California, lost his rematch with Joshua by unanimous decision but has now rededicated himself to regaining the heavyweight championship.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring on May 1,” said Ruiz, who is now being trained by renowned coach Eddy Reynoso. “Training with coach Eddy in his gym has been amazing. I’m around great fighters like Canelo Alvarez, and we’re putting in the work so that I can look better than ever.
“I have known Chris Arreola since I turned professional. He’s a Mexican warrior just like me, and I expect him to come at me with everything he’s got. This is going to be an action-packed event between fighters who do not go backwards. I will be smart and ready to do whatever it takes to get the win and put myself back in position to become heavyweight champion again.”
Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) has a career that has spanned 17 years, and he remains one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the sport. Born in East Los Angeles to parents from Mexico, Arreola has fought for the heavyweight championship three times and come up short. He began working with renowned trainer Joe Goossen before his last match against Adam Kownacki and appeared to have turned back the clock. It was a back-and-forth, up-tempo match, and Goossen’s work with Arreola was on full display. Arreola acquitted himself well but came up on the short end of the decision.
“Training with Joe Goossen is tedious, hard work,” said Arreola, whose father was a boxer who would take him to Mexico to watch the legend Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. train. “We’re doing everything that we can so that when Ruiz and I face each other, fight fans will get treated to an all-out war between the two best Mexican-American heavyweights to ever step in the ring. This matchup should be a fan-friendly fight, and I plan on winning behind all of my hard work.”
This is a nice tuneup for Ruiz, and hopefully, for him, it could lead to bigger fights, including with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, which is a big fight, and who, like Ruiz, is signed to PBC and Al Haymon.
It’s also an opportunity for Arreola to have one last shot to put himself in a position to get a title.
Not giving Arreola much of a shot in this one, but hey, anything can happen in boxing, especially in the heavyweight division.
The weigh-in is done, and now we have a fight, and interestingly enough, Anthony Joshua came in a little lighter, and the champion, Andy Ruiz, came in heavier.
Ruiz came in at 283.7 pounds, which is 15 pounds more than the first fight(268 pounds). Conversely, Joshua came in at 237.8, which is 10 pounds(247.75) lighter than the first fight.
We will see if the weight will matter, but based on what we saw in the first fight, it might not matter.
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.
Photos: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Before June 1, former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua(22-1, 21 KOs) was considered by many to be the best heavyweight in boxing, but then Andy Ruiz(33-1, 22 KOs) happened, and the rest is history.
Ruiz stopped the 30-year-old Joshua in round 7 in their first fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Fortunately for Joshua, on December 7 in Saudi Arabia, he will finally have a chance to avenge his only loss as he battles Ruiz in the rematch.
On Wednesday, at the final press conference, Joshua addressed several topics.
Here is what he had to say:
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.”
Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Ahead of the highly-anticipated rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua this Saturday December 7, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US, all fighters from the stacked card worked out in front a lively crowd in Riyadh this evening. In June, Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) spoiled the U.S. debut of then-undefeated Heavyweight kingpin Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), leaving New York as the unified IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Heavyweight Champion.
The upset is considered one of the largest upsets in Heavyweight boxing history, drawing comparisons to other historic heavyweight upsets such as Buster Douglas’ shocking victory over Mike Tyson and Hasim Rahman’s knockout win over Lennox Lewis.
Here is what Joshua had to say:
On his preparations: “It’s been about being confident, about knowing my capabilities. I’ve had a great training camp, I am well prepared, and ready to showcase my skills.”
On what change we will see Saturday night: “I’m forever changing, that’s what training camp is about, evolution, like night and day. I shed the skin from last time, re-built myself, and all I’m doing is going to win, that’s what I’m focused on.”
On looking to have more speed in this fight: “I’m quick anyway. I’m not looking for anything except the win, that’s the objective. It’s about speed, it’s not about nothing else, the objective is just to win, win, win.”
On how much Andy Ruiz had been on his mind since the first fight: “He’s been on my mind five weeks prior to June 1 because that’s when he came in as my replacement, and he will be on my mind forever. If Andy Ruiz is dedicated to the game we will see each other a third time down the line as well. This won’t be the last time I see Andy Ruiz in the ring.”
On a third match with Andy Ruiz: “Yes because I think we make for good fights. I think there will definitely be a knockout, and people want to see bloodshed and a knockout. I think we will see each other a third time.”
On getting the victory: “If God calls it that’s what’s going to happen. I feel it in my heart, and believe in myself, so yeah I’ll be victorious. Shout out to all of my sparring partners for preparing me. You are going to see fireworks on Saturday. This is an important fight and like I said, this fight isn’t going 12 rounds.”
Photos:Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
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.”
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.
Photo: Matchroom Boxing
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.”
In the sport of boxing, anything can happen, especially in the heavyweight division, where one punch can change it all. And in reality, that is what we saw back in June when Andy Ruiz Jr. defeated then unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua.
After getting knocked down by Joshua in the round 3, Ruiz got back up and would eventually drop Joshua two times in that third round. Joshua was never the same after the third round and would get dropped two more times before the fight was stopped in the seventh round.
Since there was a rematch clause in place, Ruiz and Joshua will get it on again, and according to reports, the fight could take place in the fall, but where it will take place, is a mystery at this point, and recently, Ruiz had stated that he is not interested in fighting in the U.K.
When the fight does happen, according to former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer, Joshua will be victorious.
“I think he(Joshua) should go in there and knock that bum out,” Mercer recently told Paul Gant at Larry Holmes’ Heart of a Legend Celebrity Golf Weekend. “I think he’ll knock him out. He got caught, and he got caught on the temple, and he couldn’t recover. I definitely think he is the better fighter.”
While Mercer believes Joshua will handle Ruiz in the rematch, he does not think that Joshua is the best heavyweight in the world. According to Mercer, it’s Tyson Fury.
“Tyson Fury, I have to give it to him; He’s a great fighter. I love him. I think he can be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world,” Mercer said.
Listen below as Mercer talks Larry Holmes, Tommy Morrison, the heavyweight division, and so much more: