It’s official – the WBC have ordered a final eliminator between Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr, with the winner becoming mandatory challenger for current champion Tyson Fury.
The announcement, made today at the WBC convention in Alcupolco, comes as no surprise, with Wilder and Ruiz being ranked #1 and #2 respectively in the governing body’s official rankings.
President of the WBC, Mauricio Sulaimán, said:
“The WBC will sanction Ruiz against Wilder as a final elimination for the mandatory position in the heavyweight division.”
The ordering of the all-American bout was dependent on both men successfully coming through their comeback fights this fall. Ruiz won a competitive decision against Cuban Veteran Luis Ortiz, whilst Wilder returned to action with a devastating one round knockout of Robert Helenius.
Wilder had been linked to a fight with unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk, whilst Ruiz teased the idea of a trilogy bout with Anthony Joshua. However, with both Wilder and Ruiz signed to Al Haymon’s PBC as well as being the WBC’s top two contenders, a meeting between the pair was always most likely to be next.
Fans on social media seem to be split down the middle on the fight. Some think Ruiz will be the latest addition to Wilder’s remarkable showreel of highlight knockouts, whilst there are those with the view that Ruiz’ hand speed and unique counterpunching style will pose questions of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ that he simply will not be able to answer.
Wilder is the current betting favourite with bookmakers, with Ruiz a marginal underdog.
In an interview with Boxing Social, Ruiz was confident of getting the victory and even predicted the exact punch that would cause Wilder to fall:
“I feel that I can take a punch. I’m not saying that he doesn’t hit hard or nothing – damn well he hits hard. But just like Eddie Hearn was saying, I’m going to get in, I’m going to throw my combinations, I’m going to be fast, explosive, and I feel that right hand in his temple, he’s gonna go down.”
Given recent disappointments, fans will hope negotiations for the fight go smoothly and that a date and venue can be announced soon.