RIYADH: Reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr. said on his arrival in the Kingdom that he will “make history again” when he faces Anthony Joshua in the “Clash on the Dunes” on December 7.
The Mexican-American fighter, who arrived a day after his opponent Joshua, is laying his WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO belts on the line in the first world heavyweight title bout in the Middle East, which will be held at the custom-built 15,000 capacity Diriyah Arena in Riyadh.
When asked about being one of the first boxers to fight in the Kingdom, Andy Ruiz said: “It feels good. You know I made history in New York and I’ll make history again in Saudi Arabia.”
And speaking to Arab News during a visit to the Kingdom in September, Ruiz said: “I’m feeling really blessed being over here, it’s something different. A lot of people were saying there was a lot of political stuff and all that, but to tell you the truth it’s a lovely place, a beautiful place, a place of history.
“I’m part of history now, and I’m gonna make history here. Having a big fight in a big venue in Saudi Arabia, it’s amazing.”
With hundreds of fans from across the US making the journey for the bout, they will have traveled significantly further than fans from the 60 different countries where tickets have been sold. But Ruiz fans will have their work cut out to match the volume of Joshua’s followers, with thousands of UK fans reported to be flying to Saudi Arabia.
Joshua will be looking to regain the title belts on the line after losing them to Ruiz – known as ‘The Destroyer’ - at their first match in New York earlier this year.
A world class undercard of fighters will also be the competing ahead of the main draw, with Alexander Povetkin facing Michael Hunter and Filip Hrgovic fighting Eric Molina.
The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, a month of sporting events, which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, and also includes the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.