29
Nov
2020

Andy Ruiz Jr. confirms imminent return – who will be his opponent?

Phil Jay 11/02/2020
Andy Ruiz Jr

📸 Mark Robinson

Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. is set for a comeback to action after losing his world titles to Anthony Joshua in December.

Dropping a decision in Saudi Arabia, Ruiz was relieved of the belts he took from Joshua just six months prior in New York.

Ruiz had humbled and exposed Joshua at Madison Square Garden but failed to come to terms with his achievement.

Becoming Mexico’s first top division ruler sparked a four-month party which continued even after ‘The Destroyer’ began camp for AJ – according to trainer Manny Robles.

After parting ways with Robles in the aftermath, Ruiz is set to confirm his next move shortly.

“Can’t wait to announce my next opponent. Big news coming soon,” said Ruiz.

So, who will be in the opposite corner?

WBN breaks down some of the likely candidates below:

DILLIAN WHYTE

Previously ruled out by both fighters via social media, a lack of disclosure since could mean talks have started over. It wouldn’t be unlike promoter Eddie Hearn to reach out again to an opponent who scoffed at an initial offer. This means a clash with Whyte may well remain open for the spring.

DOMINIC BREAZEALE

Having lost to Deontay Wilder back in May 2019, Breazeale needs a big win in order to re-enter the divisional landscape. Breazeale may need a run-out before then but could be a possibility for Ruiz.

CHRIS ARREOLA

Another boxer with a defeat in his previous contest, Arreola needs a route back and facing Ruiz would be a lucrative one with a Mexican edge.

OSCAR RIVAS

The fallout from Rivas losing to Dillian Whyte still rings in the Colombian’s ears. Earning a payday opposite Ruiz would soften the blow.

TRAVIS KAUFFMAN

Kauffman is at a loose end and hasn’t fought since the back end of 2018. An option should Ruiz want to work his way back to stronger opposition.

LUIS ORTIZ

The last man to defeat Kauffman, Ortiz has little time left to get himself another chance at the highest level. Ortiz was doing brilliantly until taken out by Deontay Wilder in November and has the credentials to make any battle with Ruiz a massive event.

Verdict: From the six mentioned above, any of the Premier Boxing Champions heavyweights would be above a clash with Whyte, at this stage.

It all depends on how deep Eddie Hearn’s pockets are and how badly Whyte actually wants the fight.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay