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THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS

Matt Christie examines the evidence surrounding the unmissable return between Ruiz and Joshua in Saudi Arabia and attempts to solve the puzzle regarding who will actually win
WHAT A STORY: Ruiz and Joshua formally announce their rematch will be in Saudi Arabia
Photos: ACTION IMAGES/PETER CZIBORRA

★★★★★ RUIZ JNR-JOSHUA II

IF I’d told my friends at the start of the year that, come Christmas time, a rematch being staged in Saudi Arabia featuring Andy Ruiz Jnr would be the most anticipated event on the boxing calendar, they’d have phoned my wife, told her to come quick, and instructed the barman not to serve me another drop.

But here we are about to enter this bizarre reality where underdogs are top dogs and the planet’s most enticing bout is being staged in, on the surface, one of the least enticing fight locations upon it. As the rest of the world readies itself for the season to be jolly, that time of merriment and goodwill, unlikely challenger Anthony Joshua and even unlikelier champion Ruiz Jnr will soberly unwrap their reputations and lay them bare in the Middle East. And it’s not only reputations and legacies that are on the line inside a purpose-built arena in Diriyah: Three heavyweight titles are up for grabs and, topping the fighters’ Christmas lists, pole position in the richest division in boxing.

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About Boxing News

RUIZ-JOSHUA II – Interviews, history lessons, tactics, analysis and prediction EUBANK JNR – ‘Next Gen’ drops back down to middleweight for Korobov test TETE-CASIMERO – Vaunted South African is stunned early on in Birmingham MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including Whyte, Frampton, Valdez, Lee and more