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"Joshua will earn an extraordinary amount as challenger" | Gareth A. Davies


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As Anthony Joshua prepares for what may be the most important fight of his professional career, Gareth A. Davies considered the inescapable risks being taken by the British boxer. 

It was largely unimaginable that Anthony Joshua would ever find the need to activate a rematch clause before his bout with Andy Ruiz Jr. in June.

A late replacement for Jarrell Miller after reports emerged that the American had failed a drugs test, Ruiz claimed a sensational victory in Madison Square Garden, becoming the unified world heavyweight champion in the process.

It is as a result of such circumstances that Joshua now prepares himself for a second bout with the Mexican heavyweight in the space of six months.

"It's a high risk, high reward fight this rematch with Andy Ruiz," explained boxing writer Gareth A. Davies on Tuesday's OTB AM.

"Yes, I understand the conventional wisdom in boxing that you should build back and not go straight back in against a guy who has out-boxed you and put you down four times.

"But, while the risk is huge, the reward is huge also."

Whereas the first bout was perceived as Anthony Joshua's attempt at breaking into the mainstream American market, that incentive appears to have been put on hold for the rematch; boxing promoter Eddie Hearn looking to Saudi Arabia, instead.

A decision that has and will unquestionably continue to generate criticism for Hearn, Joshua and those directly involved, Davies outlined where the immediate advantages of such a move emerges for these central players.

"I fully expect that once the Sky Box Office coffers are in and the money is negotiated with DAZN," he speculated, "Anthony Joshua will earn double what he's ever earned before - probably over £50 million.

"It's extraordinary really for a challenger to the belt, but that's his draw."

By contrast, Ruiz, the defending world champion, is expected to earn £7.5 million for his role in proceedings.

After the shock result of their initial bout, some will question the wisdom of this quick turnaround.

"In a way, this is the biggest fight of his career," suggested Davies, "this is the moment where it either slides under the canopy and he becomes one of those guys who grew and grew before reaching his limit, or he finds himself resurgent."

Whether he leaves Saudi Arabia with or without the three belts Andy Ruiz took from him may well define Joshua's legacy in the ring.

Yet, should he find himself in possession of the money Davies expects he is likely to earn, the upper-limit of Anthony Joshua's boxing ability will be deemed incidental in terms of his awesome earning potential.

Ruiz himself has thrown a spanner into the works by claiming the fight will not take place in Saudi Arabia. He said in a live post on his Instagram account, "Of course. It's going to be on my terms, our terms, we're going to bring it back here in the United States."

"It's like I said, I don't have no protection over there (Saudi Arabia)."


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