A specific date for the fight has yet to be finalized but the working date is Dec. 7th.
LAS VEGAS – Saudi Arabia has emerged as the leading candidate to host the anticipated rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz, sources familiar with the negotiations told SI.com.
The working date is December 7th, though the specific date and city are still being discussed, a source with direct knowledge of the talks told SI.com
The fight will be streamed in the U.S. on DAZN.
A deal could be finalized as early as next week.
The Athletic first reported Saudi Arabia as a candidate to host the rematch earlier this week.
In recent weeks, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has been fielding offers to host the fight. In June, Joshua was knocked out by Ruiz in one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight boxing history. Joshua exercised an immediate rematch clause and has repeatedly stated that Ruiz is the only fight he considered.
“Anyone who tells me different, they ain’t cut from the same cloth as me,” Joshua said in an interview this week on Sky Sports. "They ain’t true warriors. Anyone who’s like, ‘Oh, he should go have a warmup fight.’ Who’s my warmup fight gonna be? [Alexander] Usyk, [Luis] Ortiz, Dillian Whyte? These are top-level boxers. And I’ve got the chance to fight for the heavyweight championship right in front of me. I don’t fight, you know, B-class heavyweights. I’m fighting the best in the world, so I’m going straight for them titles. And that’s the guy I want, Ruiz. He’s got what I want, the titles, so let’s get it on.”
For weeks, Hearn has suggested the U.K. was the leading candidate to host the rematch. Ruiz has publicly stated he had no interest in fighting on Joshua’s home turf., but per terms of the original contract, Ruiz has no say in where the fight would take place.
DAZN, the subscription streaming service that has a multi-fight deal with Joshua, preferred the rematch to take place in the U.S. The first fight was contested at Madison Square Garden, and Garden officials made a strong bid to host the rematch.
Boxing Scene reported that DAZN will pay Joshua a reduced license fee to account for the fight likely taking place in the afternoon in the U.S.
Chris Mannix is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and on-air personality for DAZN.