This isn’t a boxing blog, but even I knew about Saturday’s world heavyweight match between Watford native Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz. This was a rematch of Ruiz’s stunning upset victory back in June, where he won the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles off of Joshua in a 7th round TKO, becoming the first Mexican-American boxer to become world heavyweight champion. That first fight ranked up there with Buster Douglas’ knockout of Mike Tyson as one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
The rematch went better for Joshua on Saturday, as he won back his titles by unanimous decision in a match that took place in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia. Now, Joshua has said he wants his next fight to be held in London, and his promoter has already contacted Tottenham Hotspur about potentially holding the fight at Spurs’ new stadium.
Joshua said, in quotes printed in the Guardian this morning, that he always performs better when he’s fighting in the United Kingdom.
“London’s calling, I think. British supporters do play a big part in my career. Any time I’m on home soil, I can’t lose.”
His promoter, Eddie Hearn, said that Joshua’s retinue has already started looking for London venues for Joshua’s next fight, and that while they haven’t been able to work out a date yet, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is high up on their list.
“Wembley doesn’t look great, date-wise. Tottenham Hotspur is a nice new stadium for a UK fight. We’ve got to look at it. I think the phone has gone crazy and it’s like, ‘Bring him here, bring him here.’ They’ve seen what we’ve done here and there’s a lot of options internationally but he does want to box back in the UK.
“We spoke to Spurs about hosting this fight, which they were keen to do, but unfortunately the dates didn’t work out. They would be keen to do it and it would be a nice stadium to do it in London.”
Spurs’ new stadium was planned and built right from the beginning as a multi-use stadium, not just for football. We already know about the deal with the NFL that will see Spurs host two American football games every season, and Spurs are also in an arrangement with Saracens to host Rugby League matches in the new ground as well.
But the stadium could do more, including holding concerts and other events. A heavyweight boxing fight featuring Joshua would be a huge draw to north London and would be another big moneymaker for Spurs as they seek to pay off their new stadium as quickly as possible.
It looks like we’re a ways off from seeing this fight confirmed, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is already in the works. Joshua and Hearn certainly seem to want to work out a deal, and this kind of thing is Daniel Levy catnip. It’s win-win for everyone, and it’d be super cool to see the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the news again for something other than association football.