Legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum has unleashed a torrent of criticism at Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn for announcing details of the blockbuster rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua before Ruiz had agreed terms.
According to rival promoter Arum, Hearn is “stupid” for announcing details of the prospective rematch between Ruiz Jr. and Joshua which is set to take place in Saudi Arabia on December 7. Arum also said that Ruiz Jr. is in an improved position to negotiate his deal as a result.
It was announced recently that the Saudi Arabian town of Diriyah is to host the bout, after speculation had linked the rematch to locations in the United States or the United Kingdom. The day after the announcement, Ruiz Jr. ruled out the possibility of it taking place on the Arabian peninsula.
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Ruiz Jr. shocked the boxing community in June when he knocked out former world champion Joshua in the seventh round in what was the Brit’s United States debut. Now Arum thinks that the newly-crowned champion is in the ascendancy ahead of the rematch.
“I think Eddie Hearn showed how stupid he is by making the announcement that the fight was in Saudi Arabia before he signed Ruiz to a contract,” Arum said to Villainfy Media.
“Now Ruiz has him by the balls. He’s in a great position because the guy went out on a limb and announced the venue in Saudi Arabia.”
Arum continued, saying that the United States government have warned American citizens about traveling to the region and that Ruiz Jr. is well within his rights to object to the proposed venue.
“Ruiz, one country in the world he doesn’t have to go to if he doesn’t want is Saudi Arabia because his own government said you’re not safe there.”
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However, Hearn says that Ruiz Jr. remains liable for the contract he signed prior to the first fight with Joshua and implied the threat of legal action if continued resistance is met.
“The contract for the rematch was signed prior to the first fight,” he told Sky Sports.
“They were both signed at the same time. There is no other contract.
“We have to let them 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 percent honor that contract.”