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.
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.