Anthony Joshua's next opponent has been officially announced.
After days of speculation and multiple names being brought up and crossed out in the sweepstakes to become the unified heavyweight champion's next challenger, Andy Ruiz Jr. will be the one getting the opportunity to fight the British star on June 1.
Matchroom Boxing made the fight official on the morning of May 1 after it was reported days earlier that Ruiz had agreed to terms to fight Joshua. The fight, which will be for Joshua's WBA "Super," WBO and IBF heavyweight titles, will headline a card at Madison Square Garden with the event being streamed on DAZN.
The news comes after it was revealed in mid-April that Jarrell Miller, Joshua's original opponent, had tested positive for multiple banned substances (GW1516, HGH and EPO). As a result of Miller's failed drug tests, the New York State Athletic Commission stated that it will not license Miller to fight Joshua. With Miller gone, promoter Eddie Hearn had to scramble to find a replacement.
A number of names were considered before settling on Ruiz. Fighters such as Adam Kownacki stated he wasn't going to fight Joshua while Luis Ortiz's team rejected a multi-million dollar offer to fight Joshua. Others, such as WBA "Regular" champion Manuel Charr, interim WBA titleholder Trevor Bryan and former cruiserweight title challenger Michael Hunter, held out hope thinking that they could be the next man in line to get a shot at three of the four major heavyweight titles.
The 29-year-old Ruiz unsuccessfully challenged for the WBO heavyweight title in 2016, losing a majority decision to Joseph Parker. Ruiz would go on to not fight for the following 15 months and returned last year when he knocked out Devin Vargas. Ruiz is currently on a three-fight win streak and last fought on April 20 when he stopped Alexander Dimitrenko.
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