Andy Ruiz Jr is set to make his eagerly-awaited ring return against fellow Californian Chris Arreola with the date set for Saturday April 24.
Andy has not been out since that rematch defeat by Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia in December 2019. That saw him lose the world heavyweight titles he had won six months earlier by stunning Joshua at Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz Jr appeared to come in badly out of condition that night. But he now appears to have a fresh focus and a slimmer frame under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso – handler of Canelo Alvarez and Ryan Garcia among others.
And now, per a report from Jake Donovan for BoxingScene, he will make his return to the ring on a Fox pay-per-view card against Arreola. A venue for the bout has yet to be confirmed.
Arreola a stepping stone
Arreola, who will turn 40 in early March, is clearly past his best but still represents a useful stepping stone for Ruiz Jr as he warms up hopefully for a return to elite level. Chris has not been out since dropping a unanimous decision to Adam Kownacki in Brooklyn in August 2019.
Twice Arreola has fought for a world heavyweight title. First he was crushed by Vitali Klitschko in a bid for the WBC belt back in 2009. Then some seven years after that he suffered a similar fate against Deontay Wilder in another WBC title bid.
Ruiz set for title wait
Ruiz Jr’s road back to a future world-title shot will not be a swift one. Joshua and fellow champion Tyson Fury – also from Britain – currently hold all the world heavyweight titles. And they are expected to meet in a huge unification match – likely in the Middle East in June.
With an immediate Fury vs Joshua rematch expected to follow that, it will be at least 2022 before either is ready to take on other commitments.
Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte meanwhile will rematch on March 27 with the WBC mandatory position again up for grabs. Oleksandr Usyk and Joe Joyce are expected to meet in May with the WBO interim title on the line.