According to reports, Deontay Wilder may be facing Andy Ruiz Jr next, but not within the timeframe expected.
The WBC officially ordered a fight between the pair – their number one and number two contenders, respectively – back in November of 2022. The winner will be first in line for a shot at Tyson Fury’s title belt.
Ever since, though, Wilder’s side have hinted that they were waiting out for a ‘bigger’ fight, and negotiations clearly haven’t progressed very far.
ESPN‘s Mike Coppinger said that he still expects the fight to go ahead despite recent developments, and that PBC are currently in the process of choosing a date and venue.
It’s being complicated slightly by another box office event in their calendar – Errol Spence Jr versus Keith Thurman.
“They’re looking at a site. I’ve heard maybe the Middle East, but Al Haymon handles both guys so that would be a surprise. I think it would land in the US, and last I heard they were looking at May, but now I’m told Spence and Thurman are going to go in May.
You can’t do two pay-per-views, of course, in the same month. So I’m not sure when and where that’s headed, but that’s the fight I expect for sure.”
Back on Max on Boxing right now on ESPN 2 alongside @maxkellerman with the latest news and developments on Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua’s return and Deontay Wilder-Andy Ruiz: pic.twitter.com/fLWtxu0Z0F
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) January 20, 2023
May is certainly at the far end of the scale for what fans would have expected given Ruiz was out in September against Luis Ortiz, and Wilder October with a win over Robert Helenius. The two former champions – given their future title aspirations – should really be keeping busier, especially when a fight like this is presented on a plate.
Still, as the boxing calendar really starts to take shape, a Wilder-Ruiz bout is one of the best fans could ask for given their situations and the landscape of the rest of the division.
With fights including Joe Joyce versus Zhilei Zhang, Anthony Joshua’s return and, of course, the undisputed fight between Fury and Oleksandr Usyk all on the horizon, 2023 is looking promising for the heavyweight scene.