Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua Undercard Preview
By Sina Latif
The long-awaited return of Dillian Whyte has now completed the full undercard of heavyweight match-ups on the Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch bill.
With a night of heavyweight match-ups at the purpose-built Diriyah Arena in the Riyadh desert, this fight card has a special feel to it.
With a career-defining fight of one of the biggest stars of British boxing in recent memory, there had to be exciting match-ups in the undercard to build up towards the colossal main event.
The magnitude of this event is such that in a year which has had Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr vs Shawn Porter, Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis, Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire and many more, this is undoubtedly the biggest boxing event of 2019 and to be on the undercard of the Diriyah bill will be a highlight in the career of many of the fighters.
Whyte has not boxed and has been low-key since his failed drugs test was revealed after the Oscar Rivas bout in July. However, he is now set to make a comeback and resume his march towards a world title shot against the Polish 39-year-old former world title challenger, Mariusz Wach. At such short notice, this is a decent addition to the card.
Fellow Brit Tom Little will face three-time amateur world champion Mahammadrasul Majidov of Azerbaijan. The Brit will have his work cut out against Majidov, who defeated Joshua in the unpaid ranks and signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing earlier this year, before storming to a fourth-round stoppage victory over Ed Fountain at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on his pro debut in September.
A fight card consisting of Ruiz, Joshua and Whyte should be enough to whet the appetite, but there are more big punchers on this card.
Former Russian WBA champion Alexander Povetkin will meet American Michael Hunter in a WBA world heavyweight title eliminator, and that is an absolute cracker.
Povetkin vs Hunter is a potentially explosive fight which could justifiably headline a card in its own right, yet it is part of this undercard which cannot leave fans disappointed.
Also, one of the most interesting prospects of the heavyweight division and highly-rated Filip Hrgovic will be facing the experienced and two-time title contender Eric Molina, who lost to Joshua and Deontay Wilder in his two attempts at winning a world title.
On this heavyweight-packed card, there is also the 2018 Olympic Youth Games gold medalist Hopey Price, the 19-year-old super-bantamweight hoping to make it two professional wins in two fights.
Another hot prospect also on the undercard is 18-year-old Los Angeles-based middleweight Diego Pacheco, hoping to showcase his potential after kick-starting his professional career with 7 victories in 7 fights and 6 KO’s. Pacheco was clearly delighted to be included on this big card. He wrote on his Instagram post: “Extremely thankful for the opportunity! Who would’ve thought that at 18 years old I would be fighting in the biggest card of 2019!”