Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Ruiz Jr's Trainer Says Rematch With Anthony Joshua Hasn't Been Agreed

Ruiz Jr's Trainer Says Rematch With Anthony Joshua Hasn't Been Agreed

The announcement of Saudi Arabia as the host for the bout will no doubt raise some eyebrows in the boxing community, not least for the timezone that the bout will take place in (GMT+3) being a potential source of consternation for United Kingdom and USA broadcasters.

Boxing heavyweight standouts Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua are expected to rematch on December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. But once the venue and date were confirmed, Mexico's first top division title holder chose not to comment.

Joshua's promoter had wanted the rematch to take place in Cardiff at the Principality Stadium, but Ruiz insisted he does not want to fight in the UK.

Saudi rulers have utilised sport as a tool to try and soften their global image and to provide a showcase, they claim, for reforms inside the oil-rich state.

The biggest heavyweight fight of the year between Mexican champion Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs) and former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) in his next fight.

Saudi Arabia has faced intense diplomatic fallout over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul a year ago.

But Friday's announcement was quickly denounced by human rights campaigners.

The reforms announced today by Saudi Arabia, allowing women over 21 to obtain passports & travel without the permission of a guardian (among other reforms, ) are a testament to tireless campaigning of women's rights activists who have battled against discrimination for decades.

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Joshua, 29, said: "I see there's been a lot of talking about what he wants but he doesn't get to call the shots - it's a team effort".

"Abysmal Human Rights record" - An exaggeration?

In February, Saudi Arabia hosted a first European Tour golf event that was won by former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, while the world's most grueling motor sports race, the Dakar Rally, is to be raced in the kingdom next year.

The rematch will be the latest high-profile boxing event to be held in the country after Amir Khan's victory over Australian Billy Dib in July.

Khan was reportedly paid £7 million to headline the event.

"When I was there last, it had all changed".

The neutral venue in Saudi Arabia seemed to suit both parties but things are far from agreed it now seems.

'But I think behind the scenes, the efforts, the education, the mind training that it takes to develop these skills and capabilities to be in that position are tiring.

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