Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2: Neutral referee agreed but heavyweight rivals primed for fight week falling-outs
By Andy Scott & James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 03/12/19 8:46pm
Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr’s world heavyweight title fight will be refereed by Luis Pabon of Puerto Rico.
Promoter Eddie Hearn explained that agreeing the neutral referee was "smooth" but he also expects "drama because there always is" as the countdown continues to Saturday's fight, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with ring-walks set for 8.30pm.
Pabon, 53, recently refereed Sergey Kovalev's win over Anthony Yarde and, last year, was the third man in the ring when Callum Smith knocked out George Groves in Saudi Arabia.
He refereed a world heavyweight title fight in 2013 when Wladimir Klitschko stopped Alexander Povetkin.
"Luis Pabon is a very, very experienced world championship referee," Hearn told Sky Sports.
"We had within the agreement to have neutral officials. A neutral referee then a British judge, an American judge and a neutral judge.
"The governing bodies sent through recommendations for the officials, each side comes up with a few that they are happy with, then we find common ground. We are both happy with Luis Pabon and the judges."
Joshua unveiled a sleeker physique at the public workouts and teased his second fight with Ruiz Jr would be "a marathon not a sprint", hinting he would drag the champion into the later rounds.
The mutual respect between the fighters and their respective camps may not last as tension ramps up, Hearn said.
"It's impossible to host an event like this without an argument, whether it's about the changing rooms, the ring-walks, the corners, the gloves, the hand-wraps, the hotel or someone not liking the buffet."
The public workouts
Watch Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 5pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.