NEW YORK – Andy Ruiz Jr.’s team made many demands before moving forward with his second showdown with Anthony Joshua.
Adding a clause to his contract that would’ve guaranteed him a rubber match in the event he loses their heavyweight championship rematch wasn’t among them. Ruiz told BoxingScene.com on Thursday that he didn’t demand the type of contractual clause that ensured Joshua an immediate rematch with him because he is certain he’ll beat Joshua again December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
“We’re confident we’re gonna win,” Ruiz said before their press conference in Manhattan. “And there’s other big things for me, you know? There’s other big things, but December 7th, we’re gonna win.”
The risk, of course, is that if Joshua wins, Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) isn’t guaranteed a third fight with the British superstar. Joshua joked with a group of reporters prior to Thursday’s press conference that he wouldn’t give Ruiz a rematch if Joshua wins back his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles in three months.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, didn’t dismiss the possibility of a third fight if Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) were to win.
“I think if we had another fight like the first fight,” Hearn said, “and Joshua won, I think everyone would be cool with a number three.”
Southern California’s Ruiz, who replaced Jarrell Miller on five weeks’ notice, pulled out off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he beat Joshua by technical knockout June 1 at Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz recovered quickly from a third-round knockdown, dropped the heavily favored Joshua twice in the third round and twice more in the seventh round. Referee Michael Griffin stopped their scheduled 12-rounder at 1:27 of the seventh, with a dazed Joshua still standing.
Beating the 29-year-old Joshua so thoroughly three months ago has left Ruiz certain he’ll produce a similar outcome in their rematch.
“We’re gonna be fine, man,” said Ruiz, who’ll turn 30 on Wednesday. “God’s on our side and we’re gonna win. And like I said, there’s more things ahead after this fight.”
Despite Ruiz’s impressive performance in their first fight, handicappers have consistently installed Joshua as a 3-1 favorite in their rematch. Joshua was widely listed as more than a 20-1 favorite before their first fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.