Andy Ruiz Jr ‘blessed’ to be in Saudi Arabia ahead of Anthony Joshua December rematch

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Andy Ruiz Jr in Ad Diriyah. The fighter said his clash with Anthony Joshua in the Kingdom will be a "historic fight". (Supplied)
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Reigning world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. speaking ahead of his press conference in Saudi Arabia for his world heavyweight title rematch with Anthony Joshua in the Kingdom. (AN Photo)
Updated 05 September 2019

Andy Ruiz Jr ‘blessed’ to be in Saudi Arabia ahead of Anthony Joshua December rematch

  • Arab News interviewed Ruiz before the press conference began
  • Ruiz ‘pleased’ to hear about fanbase in the Kingdom

AD DIRIYAH: When you’re 6ft 2in tall, with a fighting weight of 120kg and a punch like a battering ram, no one is likely to complain if you change your mind.

Mexican boxer Andy Ruiz Jr. vowed last month that he would never set foot in Saudi Arabia for his world heavyweight title rematch with Britain’s Anthony Joshua, suggesting that the fight was going to take place in the US.

MATCH PREVIEW: ‘Clash on the Dunes’ will make boxing history, vow Ruiz, Joshua

And now? “I’m feeling really blessed being over here,” he told Arab News in an interview on Wednesday as preparations began for the fight in Ad Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, on 7 December.

“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.”

Ruiz surprised the boxing world when he dethroned Joshua in the seventh round of their first fight in New York in June, becoming Mexico’s first heavyweight champion. Now he can’t wait for the “Clash on the Dunes” rematch. “It’s gonna be an amazing show, not just for me, but for everyone who’s gonna be watching — my family, for all the fans, so I’m really excited to put on a good show,” he said.

“It’s gonna be one hell of a fight. A historic fight. I’m really happy to be here. You can’t miss it.”

Ruiz is even brushing up on his Arabic. “For sure when I come back, I’m gonna practice some more so when I talk to the media I can surprise them,” he said.


Riyadh route revealed for inaugural Saudi Tour cycling event

Updated 24 January 2020

Riyadh route revealed for inaugural Saudi Tour cycling event

  • The race, will begin at the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee headquarters on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 8 at Al-Masmak Fort

RIYADH: The Saudi Cycling Federation on Thursday revealed the full route for next month’s inaugural Saudi Tour event in Riyadh.

The 755 kilometer race, which is split into five daily stages, will begin at the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee headquarters on Feb. 4 and end on Feb. 8 at Al-Masmak Fort. Along the way, the competitors will pass many Riyadh landmarks, including Sadus Castle, Wadi Namar Park and Al-Bujairi historical district.

Eighteen teams from 13 countries will compete, and the riders include Mark Cavendish from the UK, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni and Dutch cyclist Niki Terpstra.

Subah Al-Kraidees, chairman of the Saudi Cycling Federation, said he is delighted that the Kingdom is hosting a major Union Cycliste Internationale cycling event for the first time.

“I am so proud that the Saudi Cycling Federation is able to see one of its dreams realized with this event, and to have Saudi Arabia recognized as an important station in the international biking scene,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for Saudi athletes to rub shoulders with international bikers, and to see what they have achieved and learn from their experiences.”

The Saudi Tour will be broadcast worldwide by 25 TV networks, six of whom will also live stream the event.

Three other events will take place on the sidelines of the main race: a public bike ride from noon to 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 6, a junior race on the same day from 1 p.m. to 2.40 p.m., and a women’s ride from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. on Feb. 8.

You can find more details of the event and broadcast schedules, and track the teams and their race times, at www.thesauditour.com.