Eddie Hearn says Andy Ruiz Jr. and Filip Hrgovic are options for Anthony Joshua to fight in December if the mega-fight with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder doesn’t get done for Saudi Arabia.
In an interview today, Hearn stated that they’ve agreed to terms for the Joshua vs. Wilder fight, but they’re still waiting on the money to come through. Hearn says there’s new management in Saudi boxing, and they’re the ones putting on the highly criticized crossover fight between ex-UFC fighter Francis Ngannou & Tyson Fury.
It’s unclear if the new management in Saudi Arabia is interested in putting on the fight between Joshua & Wilder. If not, Hearn says he could match Joshua in a trilogy fight with former unified champion Ruiz or Hrgovic.
There’s also a possibility of another country staging the Joshua-Wilder fight. Still, it’s unclear if the money they would be offering would be anywhere near what the Saudis would have given.
“Let’s do this @EddieHearn,” said Andy Ruiz on social media about Anthony Joshua potentially facing him or Filip Hrgovic next.
In hindsight, the glacially slow negotiations between Joshua & Wilder may have wrecked things for them because the Saudis appeared to have moved on. They’ve got a lot of money, and it’s important to get these fights made quickly.
Joshua split a pair of fights with Ruiz in 2019. He lost his first fight with Ruiz by a seventh round knockout and then avenged the loss by beating him by a 12 round decision in December 2019. Ruiz was in woeful shape for the rematch with AJ, having put on too much weight celebrating his previous victory & sudden overnight wealth.
A third fight between Joshua & Ruiz would likely sell a lot better to the boxing public than AJ vs. Hrgovic. The casuals don’t know who Hrgvovic is, and his recent performance against Demsey McKean was painful to watch. It was filled with rabbit punching & clinging and was so boring to watch.