Andy Ruiz Jr. used to be known to boxing fans as simply “The Destroyer” but as of June 1st of this year, we all know him by another moniker: world champion.
Seems like yesterday that Ruiz was a big underdog heading into his first fight with former unified champion Anthony Joshua. Ruiz defied the odds, rising from a knockdown to create four of his own before scoring a stoppage victory and collecting the IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight belts.
Ruiz will rematch Joshua on December 7th in Saudi Arabia of all places, inside of the custom-built Diriyah Arena in the heat of the UNESCO World Heritage site. The bill is being dubbed “Clash On The Dunes” and the 15,000-seat stadium figures to play host to plenty of drama, that’s for sure, and Ruiz seems amped.
“It’s amazing man, it’s crazy how they built everything in a month and a half,” said Ruiz, who recently landed in Saudi Arabia.
“It’s amazing to be fighting over here, it’s going to be really historic and I’m planning to make history over here,” Ruiz added.
Ruiz first visited Diriyah for the official launch press conference in September, well before the arena was built, and he can see how much things have changed.
“It’s a lot different,” said Ruiz. “When I first got here none of this was here so it’s unbelievable. All the workers and all the people who have put their efforts in, their designs in, this event and this arena is just something amazing.”
Ruiz technically arrived in the Kingdom early Monday morning, giving him fair time to monitor the final stages of his training.
“Right now, we are meditating, we are preparing, we are getting sharper in the ring and training as well. We are visualizing the fight and becoming victorious,” said Ruiz. “To all my fans please come and support me, it’s going to be a huge fight, it’s the Clash On The Dunes. We are two big guys fighting each other looking to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World.”
Ruiz and Joshua have been friendly with one another heading into the rematch, as was the case before their first fight, but the Mexican-American boxer knows what is at stake.
“He’s trying to take my belts away so I’m going to do everything that’s possible to win and I’m going to do it for all my people,” said Ruiz. “They can expect to see someone who is not giving up and doing everything possible to win, God willing we are going to take this victory.”
In the coming days we will go through the motions of another fight week full of face-offs, photo shoots, media roundtable interviews, and a weigh-in that will surely have all of Saudi Arabia interested.
Come fight night it’s hard to really tell what is going to happen in this rematch. Ruiz likely could have the mental edge, given that he broke Joshua down in the first fight. For Joshua, there is a lot at stake and there may be some pressure on him heading into this.
One thing we know is that Ruiz is right at home with everything, even if he is thousands of miles away from America.