Former unified world champion Ruiz seems to think that he could win the one title he needs to complete his heavyweight belt collection – but it won’t be on the line.
Andy Ruiz Jr missed the point entirely as he seemingly accepted the challenge of world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Ruiz, who won the unified world titles from Anthony Joshua in 2019 before losing them in an immediate rematch, is searching for the WBC heavyweight belt, the one he didn’t win when he beat Joshua.
But despite Fury currently holding that belt, it won’t be on the line if he fights Ruiz, given that he would not be facing mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte.
Whyte has been ordered as the next challenger for the title, but is currently locked in arbitration with the governing body over the amount they will set for the purse split.
And in the meantime, it appears that Ruiz or Robert Helenius will face Fury either in the UK or Las Vegas with a March date preferred.
That fight would be for the Ring Magazine belt as well as the hotly disputed and unofficial ‘lineal’ championship.
“Let’s go,” Ruiz said in an Instagram story responding to an article quoting Fury’s promoter Bob Arum listing him as the possible next opponent. “I need that WBC.”
A win for Ruiz, who successfully launchd a ring comeback against Chris Arreola earlier this year, would likely earn him a shot at the title in a lucrative rematch.
But first, Whyte must get his opportunity at the title, having held the mandatory position for a number of years, save for a brief period after he was beaten by Alexander Povetkin last year.
He reclaimed the spot at the top of the WBC rankings after defeating Povetkin in Gibraltar, and is now looking to cash in with a big fight against Fury.
But Arum believes his team’s responses to their career-high purse offering have been “greedy”, and that a deal will be hard to agree in the short term.
“Dillian Whyte could have that fight. We would do that fight. But they’re – in our view – very greedy with what they’re asking,” Arum told iFL TV.
“We’ve offered them a big, good deal. A purse deal far more than they’ve ever gotten in any fight, and that hasn’t moved them.
“So we’ve talked to the head of the WBC – Mauricio Sulaiman – and he said ‘look, it breaks my heart, but go find another opponent, fight without the WBC title and we’re not gonna take it away from you’
“Dillian Whyte really, and his people, should come to the table and fight Tyson Fury, but that’s not likely to happen so they’re going to play out the arbitration.”
Fury was planning for a British homecoming against Whyte at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff next March.
But he could have to take his fifth consecutive Las Vegas fight, and his sixth since last taking to the ring in the UK, if he ends up facing Ruiz.
Another option is Helenius, who brutally finished Adam Kownacki for a second time on the undercard of Fury’s trilogy with Deontay Wilder.