Photos: Ruiz-Joshua 2 weigh-in

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

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Charlo on Hogan: ‘I’m going to stop him’

WBC Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo and highly rated contender Dennis Hogan went face to face Thursday at a final press conference to preview their world title showdown taking place this Saturday, December 7 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Here is what Charlo had to say from the Grand Ballroom at the Tillary Hotel Brooklyn:

JERMALL CHARLO

“I’m ready and I’m back like never before. I have a tough opponent in Dennis Hogan who’s real confident and he’s bringing Ireland and Australia with him. It’s going to be a show. If he can’t take my shot, I’m going to hit him flush and put him out.

“I believe I have something to deliver that Hogan has never seen before. I’m back to my most explosive days in boxing. I feel great about my training and the way I prepared myself to get this victory. I think it’s going to be tougher than he thinks it is.

“My daughter’s birth has given me even more motivation to knock this guy out and when you come to Brooklyn, you’re coming to my house. There’s nothing he can do and nothing he can say. They all say the same thing until they have to get in there with me.

“If Hogan says he’s more powerful at middleweight, than he’s going to come to fight and stay in the pocket. If he comes to box, I’ll come to fight, and if he comes to fight I’ll be able to box him. Regardless, we’re going to make adjustments in the fight.

“I’m going to come with a vicious attack. If he can hold it, then I’m going to try again later in the night. However the game plan plays out, I’m going to stop him.

“Dennis Hogan, I’ll see you Saturday night. We’re going to give everyone a great night of boxing. I’m going to deliver something explosive and give Hogan a nice little Christmas gift.

“The birth of my daughter has given me a whole new level of motivation, but I’ve always been fighting for my family. It’s just a new blessing and taking the inspiration to another level.

“I still have time to make Knockout of the Year, so hopefully this guy’s power is what he thinks it is and he comes to fight. I’m ready to shut him down.

“When you’re the champ, people are coming for you. When people know you’re great, they want to challenge you. I’m okay with that. I was on that road and now I’m here. In due time, you will see me get all of the biggest fights.

“I love Brooklyn and the energy I get from the crowd. It reminds me of Houston because the food is good and all my fans and family are here. I love Brooklyn.”

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

Joshua: ‘When I came into boxing I didn’t really come to take part, I came to take over’

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

Joshua on fighting Ruiz: ‘I think we will see each other a third time

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.

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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

Ruiz on Joshua: ‘We’ve got to see where he’s at because all the pressure is on him’

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

Ruiz: ‘He’s(Joshua) trying to take my belts away, so I’m going to do everything that’s possible to win’

Heavyweight World Champion Andy Ruiz Jr has been knocked out…by the iconic venue in Saudi Arabia where the Clash On The Dunes, his colossal rematch with Anthony Joshua, is set to take place.

The American-Mexican fighter – known as ‘The Destroyer’ – toured the custom-built Diriyah Arena in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site ahead of the epic bout on December 7.

The 15,000-seater stadium has been constructed in the ancient remains of Saudi Arabia’s first capital, a place fittingly known as the ‘home of kings and heroes’.

Touring the Diriyah Arena, Andy Ruiz said: “It’s amazing man, it’s crazy how they built everything in a month and a half. It’s amazing to be fighting over here, it’s going to be really historic and I’m planning to make history over here.”

The World Champion first visited Diriyah for the official launch press conference in September, but since then 175 workers have created the arena in the 10,000 sq m site using 295 tonnes of steel.

Ruiz said: “It’s a lot different. When I first got here none of this was here so it’s unbelievable. All the workers and all the people who have put their efforts in, their designs in, this event and this arena is just something amazing.”

Ruiz arrived in the Kingdom early Monday morning to set up his training camp ahead of his rematch with Joshua, with the US boxer determined to keep hold of the WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO belts he snatched from the Briton when they faced off in New York earlier this year.

“Right now, we are meditating, we are preparing, we are getting sharper in the ring and training as well. We are visualizing the fight and becoming victorious,” said Ruiz.

“To all my fans please come and support me, it’s going to be a huge fight, it’s the Clash On The Dunes. We are two big guys fighting each other looking to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

“He’s trying to take my belts away, so I’m going to do everything that’s possible to win and I’m going to do it for all my people.

“They can expect to see someone who is not giving up and doing everything possible to win, God willing we are going to take this victory.”

Fans will approach the Diriyah Arena via the Diriyah Oasis, a huge sprawling entertainment hub which includes ice-skating outdoors, sky diving, jetski-ing and ziplining among a host of activities on offer. The Diriyah Oasis is split into the four zones – Nature, Imagination, Reflection, Excitement- giving families a place to come together, and at its heart lies an astonishing grand installation by world-renowned Italian artist, Edoardo Tresoldi.

The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, 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.

Valdez on Berchelt: ‘That’s the one I want to fight’

Former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez’s super featherweight debut was a doozy. Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) got off the deck to stop late replacement Adam Lopez in seven rounds in a barnburner of a main event in front of a packed house at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Valdez was knocked down in the second round, only to come back to knock down Lopez (13-2) with a left hook in the seventh. A follow-up barrage caused referee Russell Mora to stop the bout with seven seconds remaining in the round.

As this was a WBC world title eliminator, Valdez is now in line to face champion Miguel Berchelt, who was seated ringside.

Lopez took the bout Friday afternoon after Valdez’s original opponent, Andres Gutierrez, missed weight by 11 pounds.

“I was very surprised. I take my hat off to Adam Lopez. He’s a great fighter, great warrior, just like his father {the late Hector Lopez} was,” Valdez said. I just got hit. This is boxing. I prepared myself for two, three months for Gutierrez, but that’s no excuse. This kid is a warrior.

“Berchelt is a true champion inside the ring and outside the ring. Fans love him. That’s the one I want to fight. He has that WBC belt, and he’s trying to take it back home.”

Photo: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Andres Gutierrez 11 pounds overweight; Adam Lopez to battle Valdez

Andres Gutierrez was removed from Saturday’s main event against former featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez, as he weighed in at 141 pounds, 11 pounds above the contract weight.

Featherweight contender Adam Lopez (13-1, 6 KOs), from Glendale, Calif., stepped up to replace Gutierrez, and he will be in the opposite corner at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in a WBC super featherweight world title eliminator. Lopez was originally set to defend his Jr. NABF featherweight title against Luis Coria, but he jumped at the opportunity to face Valdez, who will be making his super featherweight debut.

Valdez-Lopez and Carl Frampton-Tyler McCreary will headline a super featherweight doubleheader live on ESPN+, the leading multi-sport streaming service, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“I trained hard for three months making the sacrifices, and I am very upset with Andres Gutierrez,” Valdez said. “He was unprofessional. As soon as I heard 141 pounds, I still wanted to fight him, but my team and Bob Arum said Gutierrez was out. I give credit to Adam Lopez for stepping up. It will be a great fight tomorrow night.”

“It was surreal when I got the offer to fight Oscar,” Lopez said. “I‘ve known Oscar for a long time and I‘ve wanted this fight for a long time. I’m ready for it.

“Deep down, I’ll take anyone. Ultimately, I left it up to my trainer {Buddy McGirt}, and he gave the fight his blessing.

Williams on fighting in Philly: ‘I can’t wait to get back in the ring in front of all my people’

Unified 154-pound world champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams will defend his WBA and IBF titles in a Philadelphia homecoming against the hard-hitting Jeison Rosario on Saturday, January 18 in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes live in primetime from Temple University’s Liacouras Center.

The action will also feature undefeated rising star Chris “Prime Time” Colbert taking on former champion Jezreel Corrales for the Interim WBA Super Featherweight Title as the co-main event of the broadcast that begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Philadelphia’s Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) captured his world titles in a FOX main event in May when he upset Jarrett Hurd’s homecoming defense in a fight that is a frontrunner for 2019 Fight of the Year. Williams took full advantage of his second title opportunity with a spirited performance and an impressive game plan that negated the hard-charging and physically bigger Hurd.

The 29-year-old will now headline in his hometown, marking the first time he’s fought in Philadelphia since a 2011 victory over Eberto Mendoza. Williams earned his title opportunity by winning four-straight fights after a defeat to Jermall Charlo in 2016, including wins over former champion Ishe Smith and Nathaniel Gallimore.

“This is going to be great having a homecoming fight back in Philadelphia,” said Williams. “I’m excited for the crowd that’ll be at the Liacouras Center and to be back fighting on FOX. I haven’t fought in Philadelphia since 2011, so I can’t wait to get back in the ring in front of all my people. Rosario is a good fighter and I’m very familiar with him. I know he packs a solid punch and that he’s been on a tear ever since his lone loss to Nathaniel Gallimore. So he’ll be a stiff test for me, but I’m prepared to win. Most of all, I’m just excited to defend my titles and as a unified champion in front of my hometown crowd.”

Born in the Dominican Republic and now fighting out of Miami, Rosario (19-1-1, 13 KOs) will take an eight-fight unbeaten streak into his first world title fight on January 18. The 24-year-old has taken down a slew of contenders and rising prospects including Jamontay Clark, Justin DeLoach and Mark Anthony Hernandez, all of whom were either stopped or knocked down against Rosario. Most recently, Rosario won a decision over veteran contender Jorge Cota in April.

“I’m very thankful and excited for this opportunity,” said Rosario. “I’m going to take advantage of it. I plan to bring these titles back to the Dominican Republic by knockout, but if I have to go 12 rounds, I’m ready. I learned a lot from my first defeat, and it will never happen again. I also want to thank PBC, my promoter Sampson Boxing and my manager Caesar Mercedes for putting in this position. I can’t wait to make the most of it.”

One of boxing’s top rising prospects, Colbert (13-0, 5 KOs) showed off his emerging power with a sensational one punch knockout of Miguel Beltran Jr. in the first round of his most recent fight in September on FS1. The 23-year-old from Brooklyn, New York had an impressive amateur career and has already taken down three unbeaten fighters in his short pro career. He will look to kick off a big 2020 on January 18 after earning four wins in 2019.

“This is the stage that I’ve been waiting for,” said Colbert. “My last fight was the co-main event on FS1 and now we’re moving up to FOX. It’s time to show out! I’m going to show the world what the hype behind me is all about and prove that I’m a soon-to-be champion of the world. All I know about Corrales is that he’s a former champion who’s going to bring his A-game, but I’m looking to get him out of there. I’m excited to be back in Philly and I’m definitely going to have my crew and fans coming down from New York to show support.”

The 28-year-old Corrales (23-3, 9 KOs) will look to rebound after a narrow split-decision defeat to Ladarius Miller in July. 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 130-pound champion Rene Alvarado and Robinson Castellanos.

“Colbert is a good fighter but he’s not ready for what I can do in the ring,” said Corrales. “I’m going to show that I’m still one of the best in the division. This is a great opportunity to prove that. I’ve been training hard to be the best Jezreel Corrales. Thank you to my whole team for helping me get this fight. You’re not going to want to miss my performance on January 18.”

Dillian Whyte-Mariusz Wach added to Ruiz-Joshua undercard

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.”