Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr. weigh in for Clash on the Dunes bout in Diriyah

The eyes of the world were on Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh on Friday as defending world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and challenger Anthony Joshua weighed in for their Clash on the Dunes bout. (Matchroom Boxing)
Updated 06 December 2019

Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr. weigh in for Clash on the Dunes bout in Diriyah

  • Joshua showed off dramatic weight loss, lightest he has ever been for professional fight
  • Ruiz Jr. a stone heavier than first fight in New York

RIYADH: The eyes of the sporting world were on Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh on Friday as defending world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and challenger Anthony Joshua weighed in for their Clash on the Dunes bout. 

Joshua came in at 16 stone 13 pounds (107 kilograms), showing off his leaner physique all week and the lightest he has been for a professional fight.

Meanwhile, Mexican Ruiz was heavier than before their first fight earlier this year, weighing in at 20 stone 3 pounds (128 kilograms). 

Joshua told the media earlier this week ahead of their world heavyweight championship fight that he had been treating the task of winning back the belts he lost to Ruiz in June as a “marathon not a sprint," and his dramatic weight loss would point to the British boxer hoping to tire out his Mexican opponent if the fight reaches the later rounds. 

Ruiz, however, had been claiming in the build-up to the fight that he had lost weight since his victory in New York, while questioning whether Joshua’s gain of muscle mass would allow him to take punches to the body. 

Ruiz's chef and nutritionist told the media that his client planned to “feel lighter (this time) so it's easier to move on his feet."  

Ruiz Jr said: "I am losing eight pounds from what I weighed (prior to the first fight)," but the scales belied his claims and has instead become a stone heavier. 

The two heavyweights drew a crowd of thousands on the grounds of the Al-Fasailiah Hotel in Riyadh, with every fighter on the card for Saturday’s clash weighing in – including Saudi Arabia’s very own Zuhayr Al-Qahtani who faces Omar Dusary for the WBC Middle East title. 

Their IBO, WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight championship fight is being held at the custom-built Diriyah Arena in the historic Diriyah part of the city, and earlier this week the two fighters visited the site, with Joshua calling the venue “perfectly designed.”

He said: “I went there, I said my prayers and took the time to embrace what’s to come Saturday night. I want to walk in with confidence and everyone is there to feel that same type of confidence that I feel and have a great time.” 

Ruiz Jr. echoed Joshua’s sentiments, adding that the venue was the "perfect place to make history,” vowing to stop Joshua at all costs. 

The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, a month of sports which kicked off with Formula E in November, and 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, still to come. 

Federer sets up Djokovic showdown

Updated 29 January 2020

Federer sets up Djokovic showdown

  • Federer, 38, now goes into an unmissable semifinal with Djokovic

MELBOURNE: Swiss great Roger Federer said “I believe in miracles” after he saved seven match points in a five-set nail-biter against 100th-ranked Tennys Sandgren to go into an Australian Open semifinal with Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.

The six-time champion, struggling physically, saved three match points at 4-5 in the fourth set and four more in the tie breaker to scrape through 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-3.

Federer, 38, now goes into an unmissable semifinal with Djokovic, who blunted Milos Raonic’s razor serve to win 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) and move two wins from an eighth Melbourne title.

Djokovic, despite trouble with his contact lenses, ended Raonic’s run of 63 straight games in the tournament without a break of serve and moves smoothly into the semis for the loss of just one set so far.

He paid tribute to the great escape by Federer, ahead of a semifinal that reprises his epic win over the Swiss in last year’s Wimbledon decider.

“What he did today was really amazing, to come back and save seven match points at his age,” Djokovic said.

“He’s still playing such a great tennis and proving that he deserves to be up there. He’s a great fighter. Obviously I have lots of respect for him.” Federer’s match was incident-packed and he received a rare warning for an audible obscenity before going off-court for treatment on a groin injury.

Still hampered by the injury, he somehow forced a fifth set and began to regain control against the big-serving American.

“I believe in miracles,” Federer said, revealing that he thought his groin strain had ended his chances. “There could be rain, there could be all kinds of stuff.

“(I thought) just let him finish me off in style, and he didn’t do that. I’m incredibly lucky tonight, today — I don’t even know what time it is.”

Sandgren, achingly close to becoming the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at the Australian Open, can count himself unlucky especially after a ball girl accidentally collided with him during the pivotal tie-breaker, which he lost.

Federer has made heavy weather of reaching his 46th Major semifinal. He was two points from defeat by John Millman in a fifth-set tie-breaker in round three, and dropped a set against 67th-ranked Marton Fucsovics in round four.

In the women’s draw Australia’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty dismissed two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in impressive style to reach the semis for the first time.

The unflappable Barty beat the Czech 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 and will be favorite in her semifinal against America’s Sofia Kenin — sending hopes soaring of a first home winner in 42 years.