Andy Ruiz has promised to “make history again” upon touchdown in Saudi Arabia for next week’s world heavyweight title rematch against Anthony Joshua.
The Mexican-American will take on his British rival in “Clash on the Dunes” at Diriyah Arena on December 7, as Joshua attempts to reclaim the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts he relinquished in the pair’s first match-up earlier this year.
Ruiz, then a heavy underdog, shocked the sport in June when he recorded a technical-knockout victory against Joshua in the seventh round of their fight at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz-Joshua II marks the first time a world heavyweight title bout has taken place in the Middle East.
Ruiz landed at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in the early hours of Tuesday morning to begin his Saudi training camp.
Asked how he felt about boxing in the Kingdom, the champion said: “It feels good. You know I made history in New York and I’ll make history again in Saudi Arabia.”
Organisers said on Tuesday that tickets for the fight have been sold in 60 countries, with a large number of fans expected to travel from the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
The fight is being held at the purpose built Diriyah Arena that will seat 15,000 fans and is now close to completion, just two months after work started.
"The arena and site are utterly breathtaking. We can't wait," said promoter Eddie Hearn.
About to embark on a career-defining fight, Joshua arrived in Riyadh on Saturday night. The defeat to Ruiz represented the 2012 Olympic champion's first loss as a professional, spanning 23 fights. Ruiz, meanwhile, has a solitary defeat in 34 pro outings.