As far as rematches go, none will be as hotly anticipated as Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr II. ‘The Destroyer’ shocked not just the boxing world, but anyone who has a remote interest in sport after he made light work of the formerly undefeated heavyweight world champion at Madison Square Garden in June.
Ruiz Jr quite literally battered Joshua and knocked him down four times throughout the fight, which the referee paid end to in the seventh round of the title bout in New York City. The victory was very much deserved for the Mexican and as part of the contractual agreements, a rematch must take place but the destination is yet to be decided. Ruiz Jr however, has his eyes and heart firmly set on one venue in particular.
Ruiz Jr favours Estadio Azteca
There’s not many stadia in the world that would provide a suitable setting for the second part of the Joshua-Ruiz Jr title fight, and the heavy-hitting Mexican has recently declared the Estadio Azteca Stadium as a prime venue.
“I’d like that, it’d be good.
“It’d be something of history because they have never fought [in the Azteca] two heavyweight world champions,” Ruiz Jr said. It’s hard to disagree with the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion, as the Azteca would provide the perfect cauldron almost for the two heavyweights to go toe-to-toe for a second time.
Doused in history and tradition, the Azteca is more synonymous with football fans after two World Cups were held there in the 1970s and ’80s, but boxing matches have been hosted at Mexico’s most iconic venue previously. The most famous of these bouts is the 1993 clash between Julio Cesar Chavez and Greg Haugen, played out in front of 132,000 spectators.
Eddie Hearn identifies three UK venues
On the other hand, AJ’s boxing promotor has recently confirmed that he has identified three locations in the United Kingdom for the rematch. The fight is pencilled in for either November or December of this year, and Hearn has picked out White Hart Lane/Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Wembley or the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Joshua has fought at Wembley and the Principality before, so he’ll be more than accustomed to the atmosphere whereas the potential of the Azteca will certainly provide a more intimidating and fiery occasion. If, somehow, the fight was decided to be taking place in Mexico, it would be the perfect platform for Joshua to showcase his return as heavyweight champion.
Although the general consensus is that the rematch will take place in the UK, imagine how much it would lift Joshua psychologically to beat Ruiz Jr on home soil. Many will argue he had that chance at Madison Square Garden but to fight and potentially win in Mexico would see him return a hero. However, Hearn usually gets his way so once a deal is ironed out, don’t be too surprised to see a UK rematch announced but deep down, a super fight at the Azteca would be a boxing fans dream. With dream in mind, Keith Thurman will be hoping to beat Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao in July with the WBA (Super) welterweight title on the line.