Ahead of the first-ever Heavyweight World Title fight to be held in the Middle East on December 07 – part of Diriyah Season - the fighters met face-to-face for the first time since Ruiz Jr snatched champions belts away from Joshua in a shock win in New York, back in June.
In a highly charged press conference on September 04, held in the UNESCO heritage site of Diriyah, fittingly known as the ‘land of kings and heroes’ and located on the outskirts of Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, the pair squared off and vowed their battle would be a classic.
Former Unified World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic Gold medalist Anthony Joshua (who has 22 wins to one loss with 21 knockouts) told journalists, “If you look at my career it has all been about defining moments, it has been about giving the fans something to cherish. I want to do big things in boxing, and I want this fight to be known as one of the iconic rematches of all time.”
Unified World Heavyweight Ruiz Jr (33 wins to one loss with 22 knockouts) stopped Joshua to capture his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles in one of the biggest heavyweight upsets of all time at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York on June o1. In doing so, ‘The Destroyer’ created history by becoming the first boxer of Mexican heritage to be crowned World Heavyweight Champion.
Dubbed by his father as ‘Rocky Mexicano’, Ruiz Jr said, "I have said this before, and I will say it again. I dethroned the king back in June and made history becoming the first Mexican/American champion of the world. Now I get to be the first champion to defend World Heavyweight titles in the Middle East, whichever way you look at this, the Clash on the Dunes in Saudi Arabia will go down in history, that’s a fact.”