Eddie Hearn says Andy Ruiz Jr messaged him on social media to let him know he’s ready and available to take on Anthony Joshua in a trilogy match for his next fight on August 21 or August 28th. Hearn says he’s now considering making the third fight between him and AJ.
It’s important at this point that the Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn pick an excellent opponent that will help boost the spirits of the disappointed fans, who just saw the biggest fight in boxing between Joshua and Tyson Fury collapse last week.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) last his arbitration case with former WBC champion Deontay Wilder, so he’s going to be sidelined dealing with that match-up on July 24th.
In the meantime, Hearn needs to pick out a suitable opponent for Joshua that will interest the boxing world.
Hearn said Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO mandatory for Joshua, is his “most likely” opponent for August 21 or 28th at Wembley or Spurts Stadium.
In the same interview, Hearn said Andy Ruiz Jr (34-2, 22 KOs), Dillian Whyte, and Luis Ortiz were also possibilities.
“It’s like deja vu, he Instagram messaged me, ‘I’m ready, let’s do it, AJ vs. Ruiz Jr III.’ That’s a fight we’d be interested in,” said Hearn to iFL TV.
Joshua-Ruiz are 1-1 after two fights, with Andy stopping AJ in the seventh round in their first fight in June 2019, and then the rematch going in Joshua’s way with a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in December 2019.
Ruiz admittedly wasn’t in the best shape for the rematch with Joshua, weighing 283 lbs and not having the same maneuverability in their first match.
It’s understandable why Hearn wouldn’t be eager to stage a fight between Joshua and the crafty former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) right now. Not only is this a fight that wouldn’t interest the boxing world as much as a trilogy match between Joshua and Ruiz, but it might not motivate AJ.
Joshua was looking forward to facing Fury, and he might not be able to find the type of motivation needed to face a tricky fighter like Usyk at the moment.
We already saw Joshua lose to Ruiz in their first fight when he was clearly unmotivated for the contest. If Joshua faces the smallish, light-hitting Usyk, it could be a tougher fight than expected for AJ.
In terms of money and fan interest, Joshua should relinquish the WBO title and let Usyk scrap for it with the 2016 Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce.
After the dust clears between the Joyce vs. Usyk fight, Joshua could swing back and fight the winner in 2022 for his WBO belt.
A glutton for punishment, Hearn is still holding out hope that he can set up a fight between Joshua and Fury in December. It might be better off for Joshua and Hearn to wash their hands of Fury and freeze him out permanently.