Anthony Joshua’s lucrative rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. is reportedly in doubt over a money dispute, according to talksport.com.
The Mexican-American stunned the world by handing the Brit his first professional loss in his U.S. debut two months ago. On Friday, it was announced that a rematch had been scheduled to take place on December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia after investors stumped up a reported £33 million site fee to make the bout happen.
However, reports suggest Ruiz wants more than the £7.5 milion he initially agreed to.
According to The Athletic, the 29-year-old ‘isn’t expected to sign off on the rematch in Saudi Arabia unless he’s guaranteed a significantly higher purse’.
Before wrangling the WBA, WBO, and IBF world titles from Joshua in their Madison Square Garden bout, Ruiz agreed to a rematch clause, which means he could take home half of what the challenger does.
The new champion was reluctant to fight in the U.K., voicing his concerns after doping allegations were launched at Dillian Whyte after his victory over Oscar Rivas last month.
Joshua was keen to right the wrongs from the first fight, where Ruiz brutally clobbered him into a seventh-round stoppage.
Despite the defeat, the 29-year-old is thought to have made huge money for the first fight two months ago with 25-1 outsider Ruiz taking £5 million after being drafted in to replace drug cheat, Jarrell Miller.
If it goes ahead, the Middle East showdown in the winter is set to earn AJ another career-high payday.
Meanwhile, in a remarkable video posted by MaxBoxing on Friday, Joshua went into-depth for the first time since his shocking defeat at the hands of Ruiz Jr, on where he thinks it went wrong and why he lost.
In the build-up to the fight in ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena,’ Madison Square Garden, New York City, Joshua was certainly the favourite to win.
At the time, Joshua was the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion of the world, and was undefeated in his professional career. He looked unstoppable, and if anyone was going to stop him, it didn’t look like it was going to be Ruiz.
Ruiz was a late stand-in after Jarrell Miller failed drug tests, and while he had proven to be refreshing, due to his atypical build, sometimes referred to as ‘hero of the Dad Bod community,’ he was not taken as seriously as it was later clear AJ needed to.
Both 29-years-old, Ruiz was the more experienced of the two in professional boxing, fighting 144 rounds compared to Joshua’s 84, with the Mexican-American on a 32-1-0 win-loss-draw record, while AJ sat at a squeaky clean 22-0-0.
Joshua reveals in the interview with MaxBoxing, that going into the bout, “my purpose for that fight was ‘am I fighting [Deontay] Wilder next?’ The purpose of that fight was ‘what is he doing next?’ It wasn’t solely upon winning that fight.”
It looks like the Brit was severely overlooking Ruiz before the encounter, which potentially is one of the main reasons for his loss.
When the fight began, the first round was relatively normal. Joshua comments that in the first 30-seconds of the fight, he was thinking “he can’t keep up with me, with my feet.” AJ agrees that the first round was ‘business as usual’ as the two fighters felt each other out.
In the second round, Joshua recalls that he “heard the crowd booing,” apparently this was because there was a fight going on in the crowd, but according to AJ, he thought the booing was for him and this put him off greatly.
In the third round, Joshua scored a knockdown, but was then floored twice by Ruiz before the end of the round, and then put down again twice more in the seventh before the fight was called off, with AJ on all fours after spitting his gum shield out.
In the post-fight news conference, Joshua was asked about the potential fights with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, which he had spoken about so much before the battle with Ruiz. He responded by saying: “I still want to compete with those men but a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr is where we are at. I’m still a champ and I will rectify it to get the belts back.”
Continuing with MaxBoxing, Joshua said: “I’d rather have gone out on my back than the referee calling off, but he has a job to do and we respect that.
“I’m knocking on everyone’s door and I’m coming. I’ve done it once I can do it again, I’ve won, I’ve unified the division twice, become heavyweight champion, I’ve been put on my back, I’ve lost. I’m an experienced fighter, so there’s a lot more I can give.”
Joshua is currently scheduled to fight Ruiz Jr in a rematch in Saudi Arabia on December 7, though there is currently a dispute ongoing with Ruiz’s pay for the bout, so only time will tell how it will fold out.
Culled from The Guardian