Eddie Hearn says the heavyweight rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua will take place in Saudi Arabia despite the champion declaring it would be staged in the United States.

Matchroom Boxing last week announced the pair will step into the ring to do battle for a second time in Riyadh on December 7 after Ruiz refused to fight in the United Kingdom.

Yet Ruiz stated in a social-media Q+A that he would not be defending his IBF, WBA and WBO titles in the Middle East.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, responded by stating that the Mexican will be heading to Saudi Arabia.

"The contract for the rematch was signed prior to the first fight," Hearn told Sky Sports. "They are both signed at the same time. There is no other contract.

"We have to let [Ruiz Jr] know the time, date and venue which we have done. That's it.

"They are contractually bound for the rematch. There are no conversations between the two teams about not doing the fight. I don't perceive a problem.

"He signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with, that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100 per cent honour that contract.

"His choice is to have a legal battle that could put him out of boxing for years, or to defend his belts for a lot of money against a guy he has already beaten. There isn't any doubt he will take the fight."

The undefeated Otto Wallin has warned Tyson Fury he is ready to grab his opportunity "with both hands" when they fight in Las Vegas next month and the Briton has "everything to lose".

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Fury will return to the T-Mobile Arena for a heavyweight battle with Swede Wallin on September 14.

Former world champion Fury already has his eye on a fight on home soil in December after stepping into the ring with Wallin, before a rematch with Deontay Wilder next year.

Wallin (20-0) knows Fury will be a firm favourite, but says he will be in for a rude awakening in Nevada.

The 28-year-old said: "This is the type of fight I've been waiting for since I was a kid and my father started showing me some boxing moves in our kitchen.

"I've made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point, and I'm very happy it's starting to pay off. I want to thank my team and my supporters for making this happen.

"I know I'm an underdog in this fight, but I'm ready for this opportunity and I'm going to grab it with both hands. Anybody can get beat and especially in the heavyweight division.

"I like the fact that I have everything to gain and Tyson has everything to lose."

Fury, who has a professional record of 28 wins and a draw, brutally knocked out Tom Schwarz at the same venue in June.

Billy Joe Saunders is eager to show he could "easily" beat Gennady Golovkin in order to earn a shot at Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

Two-weight world champion Saunders has signed with Matchroom Boxing, having previously been frustrated in his bid to fight either Golovkin or Canelo with previous promoter Frank Warren.

The Briton is hopeful his versatility, with triumphs at middleweight and super-middleweight, will create the opportunity to take on Golovkin.

However, Saunders sees the 37-year-old, who has previously drawn with and lost to Alvarez, as a stepping stone on the way to a lucrative Canelo fight.

"Golovkin can come up to 180 [lbs] if he wants, for me," Saunders told a news conference. "I'm not bothered about that. I'll fight Golovkin at whatever weight he wants.

"That's a fight I would absolutely love, because if I got that fight, I could show people all around the world - not being big-headed or brash talking - how easily I could beat him and outbox him and probably do a better job than Canelo.

"People would probably call for that [Canelo] fight after."

Saunders is confident he would then be able to triumph again against "the big name" in Canelo.

"Obviously, he's the biggest name," he said. "But styles make fights and we've seen when he boxed [Erislandy] Lara, he had all sorts of trouble.

"I believe my mindset is a lot better than Lara's, and I thought Lara nicked that fight.

"That was Canelo more in his prime. All these training camps you see him in now, training with these knee supports and these elbow supports...

"He's a brilliant fighter - I'm not talking down to him - but I wouldn't be sat here if I didn't believe I could beat them. I wouldn't take £1billion if I didn't believe I could win.

"Even though he's the big name in the sport, I'm there to take it. I'm on that ladder, looking up, I'm on the right path to make those fights and to win them."

Tyson Fury will return to Las Vegas to fight Otto Wallin at the T-Mobile Arena on September 14.

Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti revealed earlier this month that an agreement had been reached for the former world heavyweight champion to step into the ring with the 28-year-old Wallin.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that unbeaten Swede Wallin (20-0) will get a chance to claim the Briton's lineal title in Nevada next month.

Fury brutally knocked Tom Schwarz out at the same venue in June and will be a strong favourite to add another victory to his record, which shows 28 wins and a draw.

The 31-year-old last month stated that he will face Deontay Wilder in a rematch on February 22 next year, but now wants to fight in his homeland in December after the American agreed a deal to face Luis Ortiz in November.

Fury said: "I am pleased to be back in Las Vegas. I loved my time there in my last fight and am going to put on a show again.

"Otto Wallin is a world-ranked fighter and is tall, something we want with the Deontay Wilder rematch around the corner. He is also a southpaw, which will bring its own obstacles, but I will be fully focused to get this job done because the rematch needs to happen."

Frank Warren, Fury's promoter, said: "I'm delighted that Tyson is boxing in Las Vegas again after his previous success.

"It is another undefeated boxer he is facing and a contest where a victory will set up the Deontay Wilder rematch. Otto Wallin knows this is his big chance, and Tyson will not be underestimating him."

Billy Joe Saunders has signed with Matchroom Boxing, having split with promoter Frank Warren earlier this month.

Two-weight world champion Saunders ended an 11-year partnership with Warren after being repeatedly frustrated in his bid to secure fights with world-renowned stars such as Gennady Golovkin and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

The 29-year-old has now instead teamed up with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom and again outlined a desire to make those blockbuster bouts happen.

Saunders has agreed a multi-fight deal, with his next opponent to be confirmed next week.

He said in a statement: "This move is going to benefit me massively. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing can put me right out on the branch for those big fights.

"I'm on Golovkin and Canelo's turf. I've made this move to make them fights because I'm sick of hearing their bulls*** excuses.

"Those fights make financial sense and they make sense because we're on the same network."

Hearn added: "This is a huge signing for us and the perfect place for Billy to be. Everyone in boxing knows how good Billy is and now he is going to get the chance to prove it against the elite."

Saunders has a 28-0 record and has been linked with a huge domestic showdown with Callum Smith at super middleweight next.

Smith, who is also on Matchroom's books, is the WBA 'super' champion and has spoken of wanting to face WBO strap holder Saunders in a unification bout.

So now we know. Anthony Joshua was always expected to face Andy Ruiz Jr again following their stunning bout in June, but the announcement of a date and location makes it all official.

Saudi Arabia will stage the rematch on December 7, with Eddie Hearn revealing Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar were also venue options. "We have an obligation to grow the sport to new areas and regions," the promoter said at a press conference on Monday.

Joshua sensationally lost his IBF, WBA and WBO titles at Madison Square Garden, as well as his unbeaten record, earlier this year. Ruiz climbed off the canvas to cause an almighty upset, stopping his opponent in the seventh round. It was a result that few expected and sent shockwaves through the boxing world.

The pair will face each other again before the end of 2019. So, will it be repeat or revenge in the second chapter? 

The beaten Joshua has taken a risk in going straight back in with a man who shattered his aura and scuppered any short-term plans for a unification fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder. History suggests, however, that the Englishman is right to try and exorcise the demons.

Here, Omnisport looks back at some other famous heavyweights who opted for an immediate rematch.

 

Joe Louis v Jersey Joe Walcott – Jun 25, 1948 (New York)

Louis was the longest-reigning heavyweight champion of the world at the time of his first meeting with Walcott, a former sparring partner for the Brown Bomber who had started out at middleweight. What unfolded at Madison Square Garden was not the mismatch expected, though, as the huge underdog appeared to have pulled off the mother of all upsets. Having attempted to leave the ring before the verdict was announced expecting to hear he had lost, Louis was apologetic after getting a generous decision victory.

'The Brown Bomber' gave Walcott an immediate rematch – but the judges had no need to get involved second time around. A tepid fight came to life in the 11th round when a big right hand paved the way for Louis to win by knockout. The champion initially retired after the bout, though he was back in the ring just over two years later.

 

Muhammad Ali v Leon Spinks - September 15, 1978 (New Orleans)

Olympic gold medallist Spinks was a 10-1 underdog when he came out on the right side of a split-decision in his first meeting with Ali in just his eighth pro fight. The Greatest was anything but down the stretch, admitting afterwards that he had used the wrong tactics. Spinks, meanwhile, said: "I'm the latest, but he's the greatest" after becoming the new WBA and WBC champion.

Having lost in Las Vegas in February, Ali moved the venue to New Orleans for the return seven months later. Spinks had been stripped of one of the titles and his corner was chaos. He was outmanoeuvred by the old man, with Ali winning by a landslide on the scorecards to become the first man to be crowned heavyweight world champions on three separate occasions. It was meant to be his last fight, but instead only ended up being his final victory.

 

Evander Holyfield v Mike Tyson – June 28, 1997 (Las Vegas)

Holyfield v Tyson was a long time in the making. Finally, with Iron Mike holding the WBA belt, they met at the MGM Grand in 1997. They did not disappoint either, Tyson producing a fast start but unable to find a way to truly hurt his foe. As each round passed, Holyfield assumed control, eventually stopping his fellow American with a flurry of punches in the 11th to reign as a world champion in the division for a third time.

They signed up to do it all again seventh months later at the same venue, Tyson stunning the world by biting his rival not once but twice in the third round. The first offence was to Holyfield's right ear, resulting in an obvious injury for all to see. Following a two-point deduction for taking a piece of flesh, Tyson did it again – this time to the left ear – when the action eventually resumed. Referee Mills Lane, who had replaced Mitch Halpern following a complaint from Tyson's camp, disqualified the disgraced challenger.

 

Riddick Bowe v Andrew Golota - December 14, 1996 (Atlantic City)

The first clash between Bowe and Golota was eventful, to say the least. Golota was undoubtedly the better of the two in the ring but unwilling to abide by the rules. Already deducted points in the fourth and sixth rounds for low blows, two more in the seventh saw the bout called off by referee Wayne Kelly. That was not the end of the fighting, though, as things quickly turned ugly between the two different camps, while there were also scuffles among members of the crowd inside Madison Square Garden.

Bowe insisted afterwards he would not fight Golota again, yet the pair were back in opposite corners just five months later, this time in Atlantic City. The controversial Pole was once again disqualified for punches below the belt when ahead on the scorecards. "I can't defend him," said Lou Duva, Golota's co-trainer. "I wish I could. I can't explain it."

 

Lennox Lewis v Hasim Rahman - November 17, 2001 (Las Vegas)

Lewis can relate to Joshua's situation. He was the IBF and WBC champion who had Tyson in his sights - Rahman was nothing more than a stepping stone, a hurdle to clear before moving on to bigger and better (meaning more lucrative) things. Instead, the American caught out his rival in a fight held at altitude in Gauteng, South Africa, in April 2001. Lewis had come in heavier than usual having trained in Las Vegas to allow him to make a cameo appearance in Ocean's 11.

The less-than-perfect preparation saw him sunk by a right hand that laid Lewis out on the canvas. Second time around, however, he made sure not to make the same mistakes. The return later the same year was brutally swift, Lewis regaining his belts with a fourth-round stoppage that never looked in doubt from the opening bell. "I told you that punch was a lucky punch in South Africa. I had too many attributes for him," he said in the immediate aftermath.

Eddie Hearn claims Anthony Joshua's rematch with heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia "could change boxing forever".

Joshua lost his WBA, WBO and IBF belts to Ruiz in a stunning upset at Madison Square Garden in June.

Matchroom Boxing last week confirmed a rematch for December 7 in Riyadh, with Ruiz having refused to fight in Britain.

The Mexican-American is yet to comment on the scheduled fight, but Matchroom promoter Hearn told a news conference on Monday: "Both fighters signed for this fight. The governing bodies have been informed."

The location of the second bout had long been discussed, with Joshua announcing a desire to fight back in the United Kingdom while Ruiz suggested he would prefer Mexico.

Instead, Saudi Arabia was settled on and Hearn is confident it is a good move for the growth of the sport.

"We had approaches from Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar," he said.

"We wanted to go somewhere that had a vision for the sport of boxing. We already knew Saudi Arabia was for real and investing in the sport.

"We have to realise that there is another world out there outside of Cardiff and Madison Square Garden. We have an obligation to grow the sport to new areas and regions.

"This event could change boxing forever. If Saudi is going to invest in these fights you could be seeing a big change in the dynamics of the sport, which truly excites me."

Anthony Joshua's rematch against unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr will take place in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on December 7.

Josh Warrington bemoaned the difficulty of setting up a featherweight unification fight after confirming he will defend his IBF belt against Sofiane Takoucht.

Warrington, who has twice retained his title since beating Lee Selby at Elland Road in May 2018, will face Frenchman Takoucht (35-3-1) at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on October 12.

But the 28-year-old (29-0) acknowledges he would rather have been facing a fellow champion, with his attempts to secure such a fight coming up empty.

Gary Russell Jr and Leo Santa Cruz both turned potential bouts down, the media were told at a news conference.

"I said we'd potentially be looking for a unification fight, I felt there was nowhere else for us to go, but it's not worked out like that," Warrington said.

"That's no fault of our own, the manager or the promotion. The other champions just don't seem to want it.

"It's proving very difficult to make a unification fight, but I'm a champion and I don't want to sit on the sidelines. I don't want to call myself a champion without fighting, you've got to be active - especially at this level.

"I've been at a stage where I've had 11 months of inactivity and I've come back and it's not been good. You need to be active. We're back, back in Leeds.

"Takoucht has got a massive opportunity here. He's a tough fighter, but he's been given a golden ticket. He's got a tough camp ahead of him and I'm sure he's going to bring a fight.

"All I'm concentrated on is winning and winning in style."

Warrington also offered an apology for the nature of his scrappy win over Kid Galahad in June.

"I just apologise for the way the fight turned out," he said. "I always give it my all and I always try to entertain the fans.

"Obviously, Mr Barry [Galahad] didn't want to make it a fight, he was there to survive and get paid. But job done, we move forward."

A "devastated" Carl Frampton says his freak injury came after a training camp in which he was the "most disciplined I've ever been".

The former two-weight world champion has been forced to withdraw from Saturday's featherweight showdown with Emmanuel Dominguez.

Frampton fractured his fifth metacarpal after a large ornament in his Philadelphia hotel lobby fell on his hand. 

The 32-year-old Northern Irishman was due to make his first appearance since losing to IBF champion Josh Warrington in December.

Discussing the injury in an interview with JOE.co.uk, Frampton said: "I'm just devastated, absolutely devastated.

"The fight, obviously I wanted the fight. I just feel like I've been away from my kids and summer holidays, they've been off school and I've been away, and it just feels like an absolute waste.

"Probably close to £30,000 [was spent] on the training camp, I've been out here in Philly about three and a bit weeks now and [with] nothing to show for it.

"They say it's four to six weeks and it should be fine, but I haven't got four to six weeks, have I? The fight's on Saturday night. It's just s***.

"I know people expect you to say this about your training camps being good and perfect, but this is the most disciplined I've ever been in sparring, in listening to instructions, in bag work and everything, I've just been disciplined.

"Then I go and get my f****** arm smashed on a stupid bit of whatever the f*** it is. You couldn't make it up."

Anthony Joshua wants to rediscover his passion for boxing as he prepares for his rematch with heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr.

Ruiz caused a major upset when he defeated Joshua - making his debut in the United States - by technical knockout in the seventh round of the June 1 fight to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.

A rematch is likely to take place in November or December, though a venue is yet to be decided.

Joshua's choice is Cardiff's Principality Stadium, but Ruiz has refused to fight in the UK and a neutral venue is expected to be confirmed.

However, Joshua insists he is paying little attention to the negotiations and is solely focused on regaining his titles.

"I need to soak in the boxing environment again, get that passion back," Joshua told Sky Sports. "The only fighter I'm interested in right now is Ruiz and beating him good so I can get those belts back.

"The only guys I should be fighting are the best in the world. I feel like I can correct my wrongs. I've come from a tough background and I know Ruiz beating me is something I can overcome.

"I see a lot of talking about what Ruiz wants. I don't mind fighting in America, I've done it before.

"And I'd love to fight him [in the UK] because I went [to America] off my own back. So I'd love it to be in Cardiff. However, it's going to be on neutral ground. I'll battle for it to be in the UK. It's my stomping ground.

"The British fans that have been riding with me from day one want to see me get those belts back. To walk out in Cardiff in front of 70,000 or 80,000 people screaming for you to win. The energy running through your body is incredible, and it might give me the little bit of edge I need to win those belts.

"I need to focus on my training. I know there's a rematch, I know it's going to be this year and it's going to be on neutral ground. I want Ruiz to have a say, he's the champion. I want to fight here, he wants to fight elsewhere. We'll fight on neutral ground, no problem. I just want to focus on the win. I'm not interested when the decision is made or where it is."

Joshua has elected not to have a warm-up fight, a decision he has no doubt is the right one.

"Anyone who tries to tell me different isn't cut from the same cloth," the 29-year-old said.

"Who's my warm-up fight going to be? I don't fight B-class heavyweights, I fight the best in the world. Ruiz has got what I want, so let's get it on.

"It's a fight I know I can win, that's what makes it important. What makes it even more important is how I prepare for this fight. [He could beat me again], that's what makes it so important. It was a defining moment but I'm about to make it right."

Vasyl Lomachenko's promoter Bob Arum does not trust the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) following the drug-testing controversy involving Dillian Whyte.

Whyte climbed off the canvas to beat Oscar Rivas on points on July 20, but it was later reported the 31-year-old tested positive for a banned substance before the bout in doping controls overseen by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD).

Promoter Eddie Hearn stated the British heavyweight, who insisted he triumphed "fair and square", had been cleared to fight by UKAD, the BBBofC and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), which tested both boxers in the build-up to the contest.

Lomachenko will look to add the vacant WBC lightweight title to his WBA and WBO belts when he faces Luke Campbell at London's O2 Arena on August 31, but Arum has aired concerns about how the BBBofC - who hand over the responsibility of anti-doping procedures and sanctions to UKAD - dealt with the situation.

"Ordinarily I wouldn't be concerned but ask me if I am and damn right I am because I don't trust the British board," Arum told BBC Sport.

"Commissions, whether it is in the US, or the British Boxing Board of Control - who in this area look totally inept - I think it would be a good thing to have an internationally recognised body taking over the testing problem.

"I was very upset with what I read with the Whyte situation. What made me upset was not the ultimate decision to let him fight but the fact that the opponent was never given any notice that Whyte had tested positive at least in his 'A' sample. That was absolutely wrong.

"You don't do that to an opponent. Whoever handled this made a terrible, terrible mistake. This is a serious business - guys can get hurt. Give the fighter notice and let him also be in on the decision.

"Boxing needs a standard on drug testing. It has to be addressed right away, as early as next week. This is a serious, serious problem."

The BBBofC was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Omnisport.

Hall of Fame promoter Arum also declared he would be willing to assist with the funding of VADA to improve anti-doping standards.

"I found VADA to be extraordinarily good at drug testing and very honest," the 87-year-old said.

"If they took over drug testing for all of professional boxing, even if it meant putting a tax on proceeds to enhance how frequently they can test, I think that would be a very good thing.

"The boxers shouldn't pay for it from their pay cheque. The fund probably could be a tax on promoters based on gate receipts or a tax on promoters based on television revenue. It's very do-able.

"I really think you need uniform standards and that VADA should be the be all and end all, and the testing must be random."

Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton said he is "absolutely devastated" after being forced to withdraw from his showdown against Emmanuel Dominguez due to a bizarre injury.

Frampton was set to face Dominguez in Saturday's featherweight bout, however, a freak injury scuppered his plans after a large ornament in his hotel lobby fell on his hand and left him with a fractured fifth metacarpal.

The 32-year-old Northern Irishman (26-2) was due to make his first appearance in Philadelphia since losing to IBF champion Josh Warrington in December.

"Today a freak accident occurred and I won't be able to take part in my fight vs Emmanuel Dominguez," Frampton said in a statement.

"A large ornament, in the hotel lobby, was knocked over accidently and hit me on the left hand, fracturing the fifth metacarpal.

"I'm extremely disappointed for the travelling support and for myself and my team. I've put everything into this camp, I've been away from my amazing wife and kids for the most of it and it all feels like a waste.

"Although it was out of my control I'd like to apologise to Emmanuel, MTK Global, Top Rank, my team, my travelling support and to my wife and kids for being away so long. I'm absolutely devasted."

Tyson Fury has an agreement to fight Otto Wallin on September 14, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti has confirmed.

British heavyweight star Fury has previously declared February 22 will be the date for a rematch with Deontay Wilder following their controversial draw last year.

But it seems Fury will first face Wallin, a largely untested 28-year-old Swede with a 20-0 record.

Amid reports of a deal for the bout in Las Vegas, Moretti told ESPN: "The paperwork is being drafted, but there is an agreement.

"I think it's great Tyson Fury wants to get right back in the ring and stay active. It's something uncommon nowadays."

Dmitriy Salita, Wallin's promoter, told Sky Sports: "I am very optimistic that the fight will be made.

"Once it is, an announcement will be coming from Top Rank next week."

Billy Joe Saunders has split with promoter Frank Warren after 11 years.

Saunders is a two-weight world champion, having beaten Shefat Isufi to the vacant WBO super-middleweight title in May, but he has not been able to secure fights with world-renowned stars such as Gennady Golovkin and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

A statement from Warren on Friday suggested failure to deliver such bouts was behind "an amicable release from his promotional contract".

Saunders has previously suggested Golovkin and Alvarez have avoided him due to his style in the ring, although injury also contributed to him going 12 months without a contest after overcoming David Lemieux in December 2017.

The 29-year-old was due to face Demetrius Andrade in October 2018 but was refused a licence to fight in Boston following an adverse analytical finding in a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association in August.

Saunders returned to the ring in December 2018 and beat Charles Adamu in Manchester before defeating Isufi earlier this year.

The statement on his split from Warren read: "It was mutually agreed that after struggling to regain this collective momentum, and with certain fights not immediately available within the partnership, it is in the interests of both parties to pursue their respective goals separately."

Warren added: "I've really enjoyed working with Billy Joe through his whole professional career and guiding him to become British, Commonwealth, European and a two-weight world champion.

"I'm personally very fond of Billy Joe and I wish him every success in the remainder of his career."

Saunders said: "It feels a little bittersweet and I'll always be appreciative for everything Frank has done for me. We'll stay close."

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