Boxing: Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr rematch date and venue fixed

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Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz

The fight between Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr rematch has been fixed to take place in Saudi Arabia on 7 December.

In June, the pair fought Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz in New York with Ruiz earning a seventh-round shock stop victory to hand over his first professional loss to Joshua.

Ruiz, who had been knocked down before recovering in the third round, picked up the world titles of WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO.

Cardiff’s Principality Stadium had been among the options to host the rematch.

Joshua, 29, said his choice was to battle in the Welsh capital, where he had battled for his victories over Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker before crowds of over 70,000 individuals.

However, 29-year-old Ruiz, who was born in the United States but has Mexican heritage, had ruled out a fight taking place in the United Kingdom.

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Human rights campaigners have questioned the choice of venue for Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz , citing Saudi Arabia’s “abysmal” human rights record.

Amnesty International said Joshua should learn about conditions in the country and “be prepared to speak out” on the issue.

Amnesty UK’s head of campaigns Felix Jakens said the heavyeight contest was “likely to be yet another opportunity for the Saudi authorities to try to ‘sportswash’ their severely tarnished image”.

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Saudi Arabia hosted British boxer Amir Khan’s recent win over Billy Dib and Callum Smith’s success over George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series final in September.

The country also hosted the opening race of the Formula E season in December, is in talks to host a Formula 1 race before 2021 and recently announced it will stage the richest race in horse racing history in February.

“Despite some long-overdue reforms on women’s rights, Saudi Arabia is currently in the grip of a sweeping human rights crackdown – with women’s rights activists, lawyers and members of the Shia minority community all being targeted,” Jakens added.

“There’s been no justice over the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen is carrying out indiscriminate attacks on homes, hospitals and market-places with horrific consequences for Yemeni civilians.

“As with other sporting stars going to Saudi Arabia, we’d call on Joshua to inform himself of the human rights situation and be prepared to speak out about Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record.”

Fight details released on Monday

The fight will be broadcast on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Joshua’s promoters, Matchroom Boxing, said a news conference would be held on Monday, 12 August when more details would be revealed.

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One issue that has not yet been disclosed is the start time of the fight.

Saudi¬†Arabia¬†is¬†three¬†hours¬†ahead¬†of¬†GMT,¬†so¬†while¬†a¬†midnight¬†start¬†in¬†the¬†Middle¬†East¬†in¬†December¬†would¬†mean¬†a¬†21:00¬†beginning¬†in¬†the¬†UK,¬†the¬†battle¬†would¬†take¬†place¬†early¬†in¬†the¬†afternoon¬†in¬†Los¬†Angeles¬†and¬†late¬†in¬†the¬†evening¬†in¬†New¬†York¬†‚Ästtimes¬†that¬†might¬†prove¬†unpopular¬†with¬†people¬†in¬†America¬†wishing¬†to¬†stream¬†what¬†will¬†be¬†this¬†year’s¬†largest¬†battle¬†in¬†the¬†sport.

Ruiz scored four knockdowns on his way to a seventh-round stoppage on what was Joshua’s much-publicised US debut on 1 June. The result ranked as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the heavyweight division, with Joshua a 1-25 favourite before the bout.

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Since his win, Ruiz has¬†questioned Joshua’s boxing skills,¬†while Joshua has spoken of a belief in his ability to¬†“right my wrongs”.

“I feel strong enough and I feel I can correct my wrongs,” Joshua told Sky Sports.

“I need to be around as many boxing people as possible because right now I need to soak in the experience and knowledge – and get that passion back.”

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