THE best outcome for the heavyweight division is for Andy Ruiz Jnr to repeat his June victory over Anthony Joshua on December 7 in Saudi Arabia and retain the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles.
That’s the view of Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion, who believes unifying the division is far more likely to happen if Ruiz remains champion going into 2020.
“Andy knows what he needs to do,” Wilder told IFL TV. “He doesn’t need to change anything but go in there and do what he did the first time.
“I’m looking forward to him defeating AJ and winning a second time. He has all the momentum and courage. He knows what to do and I think he’s going to be victorious.
“It would be great for boxing if he wins because then we can finally have a unification bout. One champion, one face, one name.
“That’s not the case if AJ wins. He’s already stated that he has no interest in fighting me no more.
“In the heavyweight division it’s all about unifying the division. When you have two fighters who are in agreement about that then you have no choice but to go for that fighter and you want that fighter to win. There should just be one champion in this division.”
Everything Wilder says is true, especially when stressing the beauty of having one universally recognised champion per division. It’s true to say also that Ruiz vs. Wilder seems a fight spared the muscle flexing, promotional hurdles and gargantuan egos which ultimately scuppered a Joshua vs. Wilder when both were in possession of world titles.
But, ultimately, this will all count for nothing if a) Wilder can’t successfully defend his WBC title against dangerous Cuban Luis Ortiz on Saturday and b) Joshua shows his mettle and gets revenge over Ruiz in Saudi Arabia next month. Let’s just hope, whatever the outcome of those particular fights, we get a bit more clarity in the heavyweight division as we enter the new year.
The only thing more tedious than talk of a Floyd Mayweather comeback is talk of a Dillian Whyte comeback.
We all know the story by now (or at least the version drip-fed to us): something performance-enhancing drug-related happened before his July 20 win over Oscar Rivas, but it wasn’t enough severe enough to scupper the fight and so Whyte was ultimately cleared to box as planned. Since then, however, he has been unable to box, which of course makes the earlier clearing a little bewildering and paints UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) and others in a poor light.
It will all end when Whyte gets back in the ring, I’m sure, and thankfully that doesn’t seem too far away. There has, in fact, even been talk of him travelling to Saudi Arabia in December to help Andy Ruiz Jnr and Anthony Joshua sell their show, a possibility Whyte’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has been pushing for some time now.
“He is not suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) or UKAD. He has a career,” Hearn told Mike Costello of the BBC. “These processes are taking too long.
“We can’t wait, wait, wait. We saw Ryan Martin banned for a fight that took place last November. These processes are taking too long.
“Whyte had his hearing and has been cleared. If you have something to say, let’s hear it but in the meantime let Dillian continue his career.
“He needs to fight. This is his career, his livelihood, his job and what he does.
“We are still waiting for UKAD to give their official synopsis of the event, but he’s had his hearing, he is cleared to fight. It would be ridiculous of him to wait while there is no reason for him to wait.”
Perhaps the promoter and fighter are as in the dark as the rest of us. Perhaps they too are confused by the chaotic order of events; confused by how Whyte, following a July hearing, was allowed to box Oscar Rivas, then not allowed to box at all (during the intervening months), then apparently free again to box (on December 7 in Saudi Arabia).
Either way, whether Whyte’s sitting out because he has no right to box or sitting out through fear of doing the wrong thing, the whole situation’s a mess.