American heavyweight Deontay Wilder could fight in June against Mexico’s former boxing king Andy Ruiz Jr.

  • A big heavyweight fight between Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr. could take place in June.
  • “I love that match-up,” Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza told Insider.
  • It’s “possible” the bout happens on Juneteenth weekend, Espinoza added.

A fight between PBC heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr. excites Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza.

“I love that match-up,” the 53-year-old corporate executive said of the rumored fight when talking to Insider last week.

The bout would pit the thunderous punching of Wilder against the fast hands of Ruiz, at a venue in a city that is yet to be determined.

While Ruiz is on a two-fight winning run, he scored the biggest win of his career when he humiliated Anthony Joshua with a shocking knockout at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the unified heavyweight champion four years ago.

The image of a relatively rotund Ruiz, standing over the hulking Joshua after annihilating him in just four rounds, is one of the greatest boxing photographs taken during the modern era in combat sports.

Espinoza: Ruiz may have the ‘recipe’ to beat Wilder, but it’s ‘easier said than done, clearly.’

Andy Ruiz Jr. batters Anthony Joshua.

Photo by Getty Images



A 40/1 underdog to beat Joshua in 2019, the Mexican fighter ripped up the script to put the Briton on his butt four times in an up-and-down classic.

Though Ruiz would likely enter a fight with Wilder as the underdog once again, Espinoza said the 33-year-old has technical qualities that could offset differences in musculature.

“On its surface — just like Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua — it doesn’t seem like it would be competitive,” Espinoza said of a Wilder vs. Ruiz match.

“But you’ve seen Ruiz be competitive in that situation before, and he’s shown that it’s not a bodybuilding contest but one of boxing skill,” he said. “So, despite the height, and physical differences, I think it’s an intriguing style match-up.”

Wilder, in contrast, has what podcaster and UFC commentator Joe Rogan called “the touch of death” as he’s knocked every opponent he’s ever faced to the floor.

“Andy is, at his best, a very intuitive and smooth boxer,” Espinoza told Insider. “If he dodges some of the punches coming back at him, that’s, I think, the recipe to beat Deontay.

“Easier said than done, clearly,” Espinoza said.

Wilder could return to the ring in June

Deontay Wilder floors Tyson Fury.

Photo by Getty Images



Wilder has performed in front of big crowds in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and even New York City — the city he dazzled for his last bout when he bludgeoned Robert Helenius in the very first round.

A source with knowledge of potential fight negotiations told Insider on Monday that it would likely happen in June, and could land “pretty much anywhere” at this point.

That source told Insider that PBC has announced, or is planning:

Showtime is in the midst of finalizing a fuller boxing schedule that it will confirm in the coming weeks. It will showcase numerous top-tier talents, world title fights, and pay-per-view shows, through to the end of May.

From June onwards the calendar starts to open up again, yet Insider understands boxing manager Al Haymon, those at Premier Boxing Champions, and executives at Showtime Sports, want to see Wilder return by the summer.

With “Tank” Davis and Spence — both of whom are pay-per-view assets for PBC and Showtime — competing in the spring, there would be little to get in the way of Wilder fighting in June.

Even the return of big-name twin brothers, the Charlos, would not derail a Wilder return that month.

Jermell Charlo has long been linked to Tszyu, and they were originally scheduled to fight in January. A hand injury, though, compromised Charlo’s ability to perform effectively, and he withdrew from the contest.

Should Tszyu beat replacement opponent Harrison in March, then he’d likely need “four months” at least to recover from the fight, an Insider source with knowledge of the situation said, and so a Charlo vs. Tszyu fight may not get re-booked until July, at the earliest.

If Jermell’s brother, Jermall Charlo, returned to the ring, he could get a middleweight date at the end of Q2, or in Q3.

But even if Jermall were to take a fight in June, his event would occupy a slot on Showtime Championship Boxing, freeing Wilder — the box office draw — to compete behind Showtime’s PPV paywall that same month.

Is a Wilder fight on Juneteenth weekend a possibility?

Andy Ruiz Jr. and Deontay Wilder.

Photos by Getty Images



Two of the biggest dates on the boxing calendar are the weekends closest to Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day, in mid-September. Since Floyd Mayweather retired from the ring, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has taken ownership of those dates.

Americans with Irish backgrounds tend to fight around St. Patrick’s Day in cities like Boston and New York City.

Organizers at Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime, meanwhile, have been attempting to build another key date in the calendar — the weekend closest to Juneteenth.

Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteenth is a holiday that has its origins in Galveston, Texas, and is meant to honor the end of slavery in the US. On June 19, 1865, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Union soldiers traveled to Galveston Bay and announced that the region’s 250,000 enslaved Black people were emancipated.

Though it has been celebrated since the 19th century, it has, as The New York Times noted, generated new awareness in light of the civil-rights protests following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law to make June 19 a federal holiday.

That year, PBC and Showtime held their first Juneteenth boxing event — a concept that had been a long time coming for the two companies.

“It’s been a conversation for a while, two to three years, about creating or trying to find experiences, dates, and venues that provide a turbo boost to an event,” Texas-born Espinoza told us in 2021, weeks before Jermall Charlo fought Juan Macias Montiel in PBC and Showtime’s first Juneteenth show.

Charlo was supposed to headline the second successive Juneteenth event but a back injury prevented his participation in a middleweight title bout against Maciej Sulecki.

Juneteenth adds “an interesting element” to boxing events, Espinoza told us this month. “It’s something we have been building, and have had successful events in recent years.”

When Insider asked if Wilder vs. Ruiz could land on that date, Espinoza said: “Having a big heavyweight fight would elevate it. Juneteenth is mostly associated with Texas, but it wouldn’t necessarily have to be there.”

He finished: “I think Wilder has achieved that level where he’s going to make noise wherever he goes, whatever date it is.”

This post was originally published on Insider

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