Former unified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. is growing impatient at the prospect of fighting Deontay Wilder in 2023.
World Boxing News reported in 2020 that Ruiz taking on Wilder in a battle of ex-top division titleholders was the highest priority for promoter Al Haymon.
As 2023 kicks in, Wilder vs Ruiz Jr. is on the cards for a massive Las Vegas Pay Per View between March and May this year.
Deontay Wilder stalls on Andy Ruiz Jr fight
However, Wilder is the one who is yet to commit wholeheartedly as Ruiz touts other potential opponents.
Only last month, Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel exclusively told WBN that Wilder is looking at other high-profile clashes.
“Deontay is willing to fight Anthony Joshua next,” Finkel stated in a world-exclusive interview. “We would take that fight in the UK or the Middle East, and we will do it next.
“We have the WBC eliminator with Ruiz, and we will do that, but we want the Joshua fight. Eddie Hearn said he contacted me in August, but we had the [Robert] Helenius fight.
“We announced it that month and said we won’t talk to anyone until after the Helenius fight. Eddie knew this but still said he had contacted us.
“Now we are willing to talk to make a deal for Joshua next.”
Anthony Joshua target
Finkel added: “Deontay wants the fight next. We’ve been trying since 2017 to get the Joshua fight. Let’s make a deal and do the fight. The fans want to see it, so why not?”
At the time, Ruiz shrugged his shoulders at Wilder possibly looking elsewhere for a battle as a World Boxing Council heavyweight championship eliminator lays on the table.
President Mauricio Sulaiman sanctioned a four-contender tournament over the summer of 2022 for the next mandatory challenger that included Wilder, Ruiz, Luis Ortiz, and Robert Helenius.
But despite winning their respective bouts against Ortiz [Ruiz winning] and Helenius [Wilder scoring a first-round knockout], confirmation is yet to be forthcoming.
Wilder vs Ruiz should have been a done deal by October, with both going head-to-head in the ring and then forsaking all other challenges. This is yet to be the case despite WBN’s understanding that the fight will be next.
Ruiz needs the date and venue rubber-stamped as Wilder attempts to veer off their slated blockbuster.
Dates in late March, April, and Cinco de Mayo weekend are all options as Las Vegas awaits what will be one of the fights of the year.
The following two weeks will tell whether Ruiz and Wilder will get over the line as expected.