Anthony Joshua will attempt to reclaim his heavyweight titles from Andy Ruiz Jr. before the end of the year after activating a rematch clause in his contract, promoter Eddie Hearn said Tuesday.
In a brief post on Twitter, Hearn said Joshua had opted for an immediate rematch against Ruiz Jr, who shocked the boxing world with a seventh-round knockout of the British fighter on Saturday.
“After meetings with AJ, (trainer) Rob (McCracken) and the management team in NY, we have today triggered the contracted rematch clause with Andy Ruiz Jnr,” Hearn wrote. “The fight will take place in Nov/Dec at a venue to be confirmed shortly.”
Ruiz Jr. pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the heavyweight division at Madison Square Garden on Saturday with his sensational stoppage of Joshua, the previously unbeaten WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight champion.
The 29-year-old Ruiz started the fight as a massive 32-1 underdog but floored Joshua four times on his way to a win which upended the heavyweight division.
In comments to ESPN later Tuesday, Hearn said Joshua was anxious to get back in the ring with Ruiz as quickly as possible.
“There was no point in waiting,” Hearn told the US sports network. “We’ve talked about it and it’s happening. There’s no other fight AJ wants, so there was no point waiting 30 days. Everybody needs clarity. We sat down and it wasn’t even a case of him asking what else is out there. The rematch is the fight we need, and that’s what we’ll be doing.”
Hearn had initially indicated the rematch is likely to take place in Britain, where Joshua regularly sells out large-capacity venues. However, he told ESPN on Tuesday that the choice of venue remained open.
“My gut feeling was the UK but not guaranteed,” Hearn said. “We have to look at everything. The people at (US broadcaster) DAZN and Madison Square Garden would like to do Part 2 in the US.
“Joshua came to Andy Ruiz’s country for the first fight, so it kind of makes sense to the second fight in the UK. So we’ll see.”
Anthony Joshua’s bid to make a splash in his US debut ended in misery for the three belts heavyweight world champion with a stunning loss to underdog Andy Ruiz at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Ruiz recorded a monster upset, by knocking down Britain’s Joshua four times to take the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization titles.
The 29-year-old Ruiz came into the fight as a massive 32-1 underdog. But he won it by TKO in the middle of the seventh when the referee stopped it at 1:26 of the round after the fourth knockdown.
Ruiz, sent to the canvas once himself, knocked Joshua down twice in the third round and twice more in the seventh.
“I still can’t believe it. I am still pinching myself to see if this is real,” Ruiz said.
Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) had a massive height and reach advantage as he weighed in at a chiselled 247 pounds (112.4 kilos) alongside the portly Ruiz, who beefed up to 268 pounds compared to 250 for his most recent fight.
Ruiz, who has won four fights in a row, looked fearless and poised while Joshua — who delivered 21 knockouts in his 22 victories — never seemed to recover from the first knockdown early in the third.
“Riuz won fair and square but I know Anthony Joshua’s work ethic. Great fighters come back and improve,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) has been underestimated because of his physique, but he knew what was at stake and how fortunate he was to get a second chance at a world title.
He was a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, who withdrew from the bout with Joshua after failing three drug tests in April.
“Everything is a possible man. Look at me, I just made history,” Ruiz said.
Joshua was knocked down for the first time in the third when Ruiz hit him with a left hook to the temple. Realizing he had the champ in trouble, Ruiz then charged forward and got the second knockdown by connecting on a straight right.
Joshua got up at the count of eight but it was late in the round and he was saved by the bell.
“The speed got him,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz was the first to go to the mat when he got hit by a left hook from Joshua earlier in the third.
Joshua got up after the third knockdown and fourth knockdowns in the seventh but he spat out his mouthguard and the referee waived it off while he leaned on the ropes.
Joshua needed medical attention after the bout and did not attend the post-fight news conference.
Joshua, who won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, was coming off a nine-month layoff since knocking out Alexander Povetkin in September.
– Devastating loss – Ruiz’s ambush win is being hailed by some as one of the major upsets in heavyweight history, ranking with 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in 1990 and Leon Spinks’ 15-round split decision over Muhammad Ali in 1978.
“We did an upset, just exactly what I have been saying from all the people that doubted me, I just proved them wrong,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz, who was born in San Diego and carries a US passport, considers himself Mexican and is now the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent.
“I think Mexico has a champ in every weight and now we have a heavyweight champion. I am so happy,” said Ruiz.
The loss will be devastating for the career of Joshua who was looking past Ruiz for a superfight unification showdown with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
Together with Briton Tyson Fury they are trying to revive the sport’s prestige division but the inability to get them together in the ring had left a sour taste in the mouth of boxing fans.
One of the first to pile on Joshua was Wilder who tweeted, “He wasn’t a true champion. His whole career was consistent of lies, contradiction and gifts …. now we know who was running from who!!!!”
Fury was less critical, tweeting “We have our back and Forth’s but @anthonyfjoshua changed his stars through life, heavyweight boxing. These things happen, rest up, recover, regroup and come again.”
Joseph Parker is confident he will be in the “best shape” of his career when facing Anthony Joshua in their world heavyweight title unification bout after overcoming elbow injuries.
Undefeated World Boxing Organisation champion Parker will step into the ring against Joshua, the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association title-holder, at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium a week on Saturday.
Parker feels he will at last be able to fight at full capacity having struggled with a longstanding elbow injury before an operation in December.
“We tried to schedule in surgery numerous times, but (fight) opportunities came up so we pushed back, and the past two years we’ve been training and fighting below 100 percent,” said Parker, speaking at a work-out session in London on Friday.
“Since the surgery there’s been a lot of benefits,” added the New Zealander, who travelled to Manchester to beat Britain’s Hughie Fury in September.
“We’ve been training with no injuries; this is the best camp we’ve had for a long time, and that’s why we’re so confident in putting on a great display and a great fight,” Parker explained.
“I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve been in. My face is a bit skinnier, and I’m also starting to see some abs come along.”
Parker’s trainer, Kevin Barry, was taken aback by the boxer’s progress since surgery.
“The pain Joe had to go through — how he was even able to achieve some of the successes he’s had is mind-boggling,” he said.
“The surgeon sat down when he looked at the initial damage and said, ‘How was he able to perform at an elite level?’.”
Promoter David Higgins urged the ringside judges not to be swayed by a home crowd and score the fight fairly, even though Parker’s previous fight in Britain ended in victory.
“We’re grateful to the British Boxing Board of Control, this time they’ve opted for a balanced panel,” said Higgins. “That means a neutral referee, from Italy, a neutral judge from the United States, one judge from the UK, and one judge from New Zealand.
“This fight is so big, and there’s so much scrutiny on the officials, they should know they won’t work again if they favour the home man, obviously.”
Meanwhile, Parker accused Joshua of snubbing travelling media from New Zealand and Samoa by refusing to speak to them at a workout session on Wednesday.
He did, however, speak to other reporters and it was by no means certain Joshua had deliberately avoided taking questions from overseas journalists, although that did not stop Parker drawing a comparison with his own accommodating attitude to British media.
“It’s a little disrespectful because they’ve travelled a long way to come and see him, and they respect him, as a fighter and (for) what he’s achieved,” Parker said.
“We were in camp in Vegas, we had a lot of British media come over and we were very friendly.
“He (Joshua) should just be a bit more respectful in talking to everyone who was there. Hopefully, in future he can make it better.”
Heavyweight boxing moved closer to having an undisputed world champion after it was announced Sunday that Britain’s Anthony Joshua and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker will meet for a multiple title bout in Cardiff on March 31.
Joshua will put his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation belts on the line against Parker, the World Boxing Organisation champion.
Matchroom Boxing, Joshua’s promoters, said the bout would take place at the 74,500 capacity Principality Stadium, best known for staging Wales rugby union internationals.
“I would like to announce the official news that myself and Joseph Parker will be fighting on March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff,” said Joshua.
“It is a unification heavyweight championship fight. We all know what happened last time I was in a unification heavyweight championship fight — it was gruelling, it was interesting and we both left the ring with masses of respect,” the 28-year-old added.
“These fights aren’t easy because there is a lot on the line, so respect to team Parker for taking the challenge. I am looking forward to it, training camp is under way and before you know it March 31 will be upon us.”
Joshua, the London 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight champion, unified the WBA and IBF titles with a dramatic and hard-fought win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April before retaining both belts against Carlos Takam in a late-stoppage win in Cardiff in October.
Parker, 26, became the WBO champion in December 2016.
He made his British debut last year with a majority points win over challenger Hughie Fury, a cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Parker’s performance against Fury did not impress some ringside observers.
But Parker was adamant his punching power would test Joshua.
“Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock,” he said. “A couple of months ago I heard him say ‘why should I be worried about this little kid from New Zealand’?
“Well, now he’s about to find out. And the world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch.
“My entire existence is now devoted to proving what the boxing world already knows.”
Sunday’s announcement concluded weeks of sometimes fraught talks between the two camps.
“I’m delighted to get this fight made –- it’s been a long time coming,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
“Champions should fight champions and AJ continues to step up to the challenges.”
Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury wants US President Donald Trump in his corner as he mulls “the biggest fight ever” against reigning IBF and WBA champion Anthony Joshua.
Last weekend Joshua, 28, successfully defended his titles against Carlos Takam in Cardiff and either WBO champion Joseph Parker or WBC champion Deontay Wilder appear the most likely next opponents.
But Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is also eyeing an all-British showdown with Fury next year.
Fury, 29, this week contacted Trump on Twitter to ask him to join his ring-walk, asking the US president who he thinks would win a bout with Joshua.
“@realDonaldTrump who do you think wins the fury vs AJ fight? You can walk me out if you want, be a part of the biggest fight ever,” he tweeted.
A number of personal issues have kept Fury on the sidelines since November 2015, when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles, and he remains without a boxing licence.
But he believes a bout with Joshua would resemble Muhammad Ali’s legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman in Kinshasa in 1974.
Fury posted an image of the two all-time great combatants on Instagram, along with the caption: “This is what’s to come!
“The old champ coming back to fight a man who every1 thinks will ko me, same as Ali vs Forman the stylish Ali vs the mummy Forman! We all know what happens in this fight!
“I know you all got me whooped, but I will not lay down or be afraid of some muscles & I have the mentality of a winner a man who has never lost a fight.”
Fury, who is still waiting for a final ruling from UK Anti-Doping on a suspended drugs ban after the hearing was adjourned in July, also laid down the gauntlet to Wilder.
“AJ & Wilder I’m coming back for you pair my mission is seek & destroy the only thing on my mind is destruction whoever gets in my way will be dealt with accordingly.
“There’s only 1 winner & that’s the fans! Let’s make the heavyweights great again, fight the best in the division.”