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Ruiz vs Joshua 2: Vargas-Smith, Cissokho-Eggington likely for undercard

A pair of former titleholders could meet in one of the featured bouts on the Ruiz-Joshua 2 card.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai v Juan Francisco Estrada Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Matchroom Boxing are working on a pair of undercard bouts for the Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua 2 card in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7, with one of them potentially pitting a pair of former world titleholders looking to stay in contention at 154 pounds.

Former welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KO) and former junior middleweight titlist Liam Smith (28-2-1, 16 KO) could meet in a matchup of veterans, both of whom are still ostensibly within their prime years and are looking to get into the title mix once again.

Vargas, 30, is coming off of an Apr. 26 win over Humberto Soto, where he stopped the rugged but undersized veteran Soto in the sixth round of a 151-pound catchweight bout. Vargas worked with Freddie Roach for that fight and set out to show his power more than he has in the past, and against Soto, at least, he was able to do that, but he also took some good shots in return.

Before the win over Soto, Vargas had back-to-back draws against Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme in 2018. He won the WBO welterweight title in Mar. 2016 with a win over Sadam Ali, but lost it eight months later to Manny Pacquiao.

Smith, 31, won the WBO junior middleweight title in Oct. 2015, beating John Thompson, and made a pair of defenses against Jimmy Kilrain Kelly and Predrag Radosevic, before being knocked out in the ninth round by Canelo Alvarez in Sept. 2016 at AT&T Stadium.

More recently, Smith had a pair of gritty battles in 2017 with Liam Williams, winning both, and lost a decision to Jaime Munguia in July 2018. He’s won two straight, stopping Sam Eggington and Mario Lozano in March and August of this year.

Another fight possible for the show is Souleymane Cissokho against the just-mentioned Sam Eggington, which would also be at 154 pounds.

Cissokho (11-0, 7 KO) is a former Olympic bronze medalist for France, and the 28-year-old is managed by Anthony Joshua. He has fought four times this year, including a win over Vladimir Hernandez on the first Joshua-Ruiz card on June 1.

Eggington (27-6, 16 KO) is still just 25 years old, and is a former British, Commonwealth, and European welterweight champion. He lost the European title to Mohmaed Mimoune in Oct. 2017, and then was shockingly stopped by Hassan Mwakinyo in the second round in Sept. 2018. He faced Smith in March of this year, and Smith battered Eggington en route to a fifth round stoppage.

But “Savage” Sam has come back from that, winning three in a row including a second round KO of Orlando Fiordigiglio on Sept. 19 in Italy.