By Tim Royner: Promoter Eddie Hearn says he believes the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. will probably wind up in Cardiff, Wales rather than in New York in the U.S. Hearn states that Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) wants him to make the final decision where the second with right IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) should take place, but he says he’s telling him that he needs to make the ultimate call.
Hearn wants Joshua to fight in Britain for rematch
Hearn says he wants Joshua to fight at home in Britain because it would be the biggest fight in the history of British Boxing. However, the general belief is Hearn wants any advantage he can get for Joshua, 29, to help preserve his career as a huge money maker. A second defeat at the hands of Ruiz would be catastrophic for Joshua’s career. AJ can absorb one loss, but a second knockout defeat would likely result in less money coming in for his pay-per-view and stadium fights in the UK.
“If I had to choose anywhere, I’d probably say, ‘Cardiff,’” said Hearn to The Sportsman Boxing about the location for the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch. “I think the general feeling between the [Joshua] training team is Cardiff would be the WISe thing to do. We’ve done one in America. There’s also the argument for the fight. I would love to do it in Britain, because I think it would be great for British Boxing. I think it would be the biggest fight of all time in the country,” said Hearn.
Putting the Joshua-Ruiz rematch in Cardiff would be a controversial move on Matchroom Boxing’s part, because two of Joshua’s recent fights in that place ended with questionable officiating. We saw a premature stoppage in Joshua’s fight against Carlos Takam in Cardiff in 2017. Hearn might not like the idea of putting the Joshua-Ruiz rematch back in New York, but at least he can’t say that the referee messed Joshua over. The referee stopped the Joshua-Takam fight pulled an oddball in stopping it with both fighters still swinging away.
Hearn: Joshua has got to make the call where the Ruiz fight takes place
“AJ has got to make the call,” said Hearn about the rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. “He says, ‘wherever you want to do it.’ No, no, no, you’ve got to tell me where you want to do it, because I’m not going to make a decision like this. I’ll give you advice and that’ll come next week. It was always a straight race between Cardiff and New York. We had a couple of approaches [from other venues]. They were quite interesting, both financially and historically I think as well. So, I have a lot to explore there, which we’re doing this week. Like I said, this weekend, we’ll be making a decision,” said Hearn about the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. rematch venue.
Hearn likely doesn’t want to be the one that makes the call for the location of the rematch, because if Joshua loses again, he would be the one that would take the hit. If Joshua is looking for a scapegoat afterwards to pin the reason for his loss on, Hearn would be a convenient target. As such, the same pick for Hearn is to say he wants the fight in the UK, where Joshua would have a massive Audience of pro-Joshua Boxing fans.
Some of Joshua’s fights in the UK in the past have seen referees step in prematurely to stop fights, Who can forget the referee that worked the Joshua vs. Joseph Parker fight. The referee didn’t allow inside fighting, which meant that the shorter fighter Parker was forced to fight Joshua from the outside the entire fight. Ruiz would stand no chance of beating Joshua with a referee like that working the fight.