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Andy Ruiz Jr in talks to face Charles Martin in October

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Martin is currently the highest-ranked IBF heavyweight contender

Andy Ruiz v Chris Arreola Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

So much for Luis Ortiz or Dillian Whyte in September. ESPN KnockOut’s Salvador Rodriguez reports that former unified champion Andy Ruiz Jr is in talks to face IBF #2 Charles Martin in October, and said talks could come to fruition in the coming days.

As Rodriguez points out, this matchup would pit Ruiz (34-2, 22 KO) against former trainer Manny Robles, whom he threw under the bus and fired after his disastrous rematch against Anthony Joshua. The Robles-trained Martin (28-2-1, 25 KO) is 3-0 since a competitive loss to Adam Kownacki in 2018 and was last seen stopping Gerald Washington in February 2020.

I will note that the lengthy layoff is not entirely outside of “Prince’s” control, as he reportedly turned down a final eliminator against Michael Hunter earlier this year. It’s unclear whether this would be an eliminator; Martin’s the highest-ranked contender after Hunter got booted from the rankings for passing on a fight with Filip Hrgovic, while Ruiz is ranked eighth.

Martin’s a big boy at 6’5” and can thump, but Ruiz figures to be a very comfortable favorite if they get the matchup over the finish line. It is, however, a semi-meaningful heavyweight fight, which we’re quite short on at the moment.