After much denial from the Andy Ruiz Jr. camp that the rematch against Anthony Joshua, set for December 7 in Saudi Arabia, is far from over, it appears that chapter of this ongoing heavyweight title saga has closed.
According to multiple reports, first reported by The Athletic, Ruiz has agreed to terms to face Joshua for the unified WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles later this year. The fight will take place in Diriyah at a venue that has yet to be fully constructed. Though he may have agreed to terms, the contract has yet to be signed officially, per an ESPN report, but it is expected that it will happen.
Matchroom Boxing announced earlier this month that the rematch was set and even after an introductory press conference that only had promoter Eddie Hearn and none of the fighters, Ruiz came out and said nothing is set in stone. Ruiz, who was guaranteed $9 million for the rematch based on the contract he signed to fight Joshua the first time back in June, was looking to get a better financial package.
In addition to getting more money, which according to ESPN, has made Ruiz happy, the Mexican television rights to the fight was also given to him. The first fight was shown on DAZN in the United States and on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom, neither of which are currently available in Mexico. Both fighters' camps also agreed to have the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) handle random drug testing for the rematch, something it did in the first fight.
Other aspects of the rematch were that representatives from a U.S. athletic commission will assist Saudi Arabia in regulating the bout given that the country does not have a true athletic commission that has worked in boxing. As far as the referee and judging is concerned, all four ringside officials must have worked at least 40 world championship bouts to be considered for appointment.
Ruiz came up as Joshua's replacement opponent in June after Jarrell Miller, Joshua's original opponent, failed multiple drug tests in March. Their first fight took place at Madison Square Garden with Ruiz dropping Joshua multiple times en route to stopping him in the seventh round to become the first male heavyweight of Mexican-descent to win a world title.