Ruiz, Ortiz, Bryan On Hearn’s AJ Shortlist
Following word that Andy Ruiz was now in the mix for a shot at Anthony Joshua on June 1st, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that Ruiz is among six names being considered for Madison Square Garden.
Joshua, who was initially set to face Jarrell Miller, has left it up to his promoter to find a suitable replacement for the Brooklyn Born Boxer, who was found to have failed three separate VADA tests last week, all for different substances.
Now, after some fighters such as Adam Kownacki and Kubrat Pulev either pulled themselves from consideration, or were pulled due to ongoing issues, Ruiz joins five potential contenders who will headline for the unified world heavyweight championship
Per ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the six names include Ruiz, Luis Ortiz, Michael Hunter, Manuel Charr, Trevor Bryan, and Agit Kabayel.
While Ruiz had just fought on Saturday night, he made it clear that he is open and available on June 1st, looking to get past his only professional loss, losing to then world champion Joseph Parker in 2016.
Ortiz has been at the top of many fan and analyst’s lists, but Ortiz team has made it clear that the Cuban southpaw would not be ready by June 1st, and has been in-talks with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions brand.
Former Olympian Michael Hunter may be the easiest to get to sign on the dotted line, as he is not only signed to Matchroom Boxing USA, but is currently training for a fight on May 25th with no announced opponent.
Manuel Charr, the current WBA “regular” world champion campaigned for a title shot last week to battle Joshua, but has not taken a VADA test in a considerable time frame, and had a recent legal battle due to an issue with a drug test and an overturned suspension.
Trevor Bryan is the WBA interim world champion, a title earned after Manuel Charr was inactive, even though Joshua holds the WBA “super” version of the world title. And while the American boxer is unbeaten, has a title (in-theory), and no network contract, he’s also not fought since August 2018 in a TKO win over BJ Flores.
Agit Kabayel is also an undefeated champion, holding the European championship, and while he’s been able to defeat heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora, has never strayed away from his continent, and may not be enough of a “draw” to help sell the 3,000 or so tickets remaining for June 1st.