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Anthony Joshua set for trilogy with Andy Ruiz, the first boxer to beat him

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Following the cancellation of the proposed fight with Dillian Whyte over dope issues, Anthony Joshua  could face former rival Andy Ruiz Jr who was the first boxer to knock him down in his professional career.

The original bout collapsed as the Whyte failed a drug test for the third time in his career, denying him the chance to avenge his 2015 loss and forcing Joshua to find an emergency stand-in.

As Joshua’s camp scramble to fix a replacement a surprise contender emerged in the form of Andy Ruiz Jr.

The American pulled off one of boxing’s biggest ever upsets when he beat Joshua at Madison Square Garden in 2019, but lost on points in a rematch to the Joshua just six months later.

Now Ruiz is eyeing up a trilogy fight with AJ after Saturday’s bout was cancelled following an ‘adverse finding’ in one of Whyte’s drugs tests.

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The Destroyer said on Instagram: ‘Eddie Hearn, Joshua, I think I’ve found a new replacement – again!

‘Let’s run it back. Let’s get the trilogy. Let’s get it.’

It will be recalled that Ruiz Jr, then also a last minute replacement, stopped Joshua in the seventh round to become world heavyweight champion but lost his belts after Joshua’s points win in Saudi Arabia.

He has since fought veterans Luis Ortiz and Chris Arreola but is eyeing a return to the big leagues.

Currently Gerald Washington is the frontrunner to land the Joshua fight, as reported by  Sun Sport, but Ruiz will hope his history with the Joshua may tip the scales in his favour.

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Whyte has vowed to prove his innocence and released a statement about his failed test that said: ‘I am shocked and devastated to learn of a report by VADA of adverse findings relating to me.

‘I only learned of it this morning and am still reacting to it.

‘I have also just seen the fight is being cancelled without having any chance to demonstrate my innocence before the decision was taken.

‘I can confirm without a shadow of a doubt that I have not taken the reported substance, in this camp or at any point in my life.

‘I am completely innocent and ask to be given the time to go through the process of proving this without anybody jumping to conclusions or a trial by media.’

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This is the third time he has failed a drug test in his career as the Body Snatcher was banned for two years after testing positive for a prohibited stimulant in 2012.

He also tested positive for metabolites of the anabolic steroid Dianabol in 2019 but was exonerated of any wrongdoing by UKAD due to the ‘extremely low’ levels of the drug found in his system.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Boxing

Usyk considering stepping down to cruiserweight after Fury rematch

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Undisputed heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk said he may return to the cruiserweight division following his rematch with British heavyweight Tyson Fury later this year.

Usyk – now the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO champion – defeated Fury by split decision in a thrilling contest at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh to become undisputed heavyweight champion.

The Ukrainian was previously the undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up to heavyweight in 2019.

“I think maybe after the rematch, I am going to go down in weight to cruiserweight. I want more cruiserweight,” Usyk said in an episode of the ‘3 Knockdown Rule’ podcast released on Wednesday.

“Maybe I can be undisputed for a second time in the cruiserweight division, it’s my plan. When I start to prepare for my training camp (as a heavyweight), I have to eat all the time. For me it’s hard, I don’t like it.”

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Usyk, 37, is the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the end of Lennox Lewis’ reign in April 2000. He will face Fury in a rematch on Dec. 21 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. REUTERS

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Usyk-Fury heavyweight rematch set for Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia

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The heavyweight rematch between undisputed world champion Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will take place on Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia, according to the advisor who organizes boxing events in the kingdom.

Turki Alalshikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, confirmed the date of the fight on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday. He said it will take place in Riyadh, the location of the first fight on May 19.

“The world will watch another historical fight again,” he wrote. “Our commitment to boxing fans continues … We hope you enjoy it.”

Usyk became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000 when he defeated Fury by split decision, earning a narrow win on two scorecards. The 37-year-old Ukrainian is the first heavyweight to hold every major title belt since Lennox Lewis.

It was Fury’s first loss as a professional.

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-AP

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Boxing

Furious Fury to clash again with Usyk in October

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All hope is not lost for Tyson Fury who lost his WBC heavyweight championship belt to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia early this Sunday morning.

Both boxer had agreed before the unification bout that the loser of their fight would be eligible to trigger a rematch.

Owing to the two-way rematch clause, there will be a second showdown. As for a date, nothing is set in stone. The hopeful Saudi boxing chief Turki Alalshikh confirmed that a rematch is likely to go ahead on 12th/13th October 2024, not taking into account exceptional circumstances such as injuries or unforeseen events.

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