Anthony Joshua will put his WBA “super”/WBO/IBF/IBO heavyweight titles on the line June 1st when he takes on challenger Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight, which will be Joshua’s debut in America, can be viewed live on DAZN in the USA and on Sky Sports Box Office (PPV) in the UK.
Tale of the Tape – Joshua vs. Ruiz
|Anthony Joshua||Andy Ruiz Jr.|
|Record||22-0-0 (21 KOs)||32-1-0 (21 KOs)|
|Country||United Kingdom||United States|
Fight Breakdown – Joshua vs. Ruiz
Anthony Joshua is an international boxing superstar and a huge celebrity in his home country of the UK where he won Olympic gold in 2012. Joshua first became a legit name in the professional ranks when he stopped Dillian Whyte back in 2015 in an exciting back-and-forth battle. The win over Whyte earned him a title shot in 2016 against American Charles Martin for his IBF belt, which Joshua won when he stopped Martin in just two rounds.
In 2017, Joshua would fight future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko for three titles in what is still considered the biggest fight of the former’s career. Joshua would stop Klitschko in the 11th round in a thrilling fight to pick up the WBA “super” title. Joshua would eventually add the WBO strap to his collection when he defeated New Zealand’s Joseph Parker by unanimous decision in 2018.
Andy Ruiz Jr. compiled an impressive amateur record of 105-5 before turning pro in 2009. Ruiz won the WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title in 2013 when he stopped Joe Hanks and picked up the NABF heavyweight title later that year when he knocked out Tor Hamer. Ruiz’s biggest fight to date came in 2016 when he fought Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO heavyweight title. Ruiz would fight well but lost a close split-decision, the only defeat of his career so far. On Saturday, Ruiz will look to become the first fighter of Mexican heritage to win a world heavyweight title.
Ruiz is a short, stocky heavyweight with respectable power in both hands. He displays good fundamentals and has a great chin (as far as I know, he has never been knocked down or knocked out as a professional). Despite his appearance, the California native actually has shown good footwork and head movement; he is not easy to hit. His biggest weakness going into this fight is his short stature. At 6-foot-2, will he be able to get close enough to Joshua to do damage without getting hit hard on the way in?
With 21 knockouts in 22 pro fights, it is obvious that Anthony Joshua carries massive power. He throws powerful hooks and devastating uppercuts that no opponent so far has been able to take when they land (if I recall correctly, Joshua was never able to really land clean on Parker). In addition to his natural size and power, Joshua is a well-schooled fighter who keeps his hands up, moves his feet fairly well, and makes few mistakes defensively. The biggest weakness I see in Joshua is that he can sometimes be a little stiff with his long-range punches. Based on his skillset and resume, I consider Joshua to be the best heavyweight in the world.
Ruiz’s best bet in this fight is to let his lands go whenever he gets into punching range. If you stand in front of Joshua without doing anything, he is going to light you up and knock you out. Ruiz appears to have a hand-speed advantage, so he should use it. The challenger should also look to counter Joshua’s jab with his own right hand. For Joshua, he should make sure he uses sharp, crisp jabs and keeps his hands up at all times. Against Parker we saw that Joshua can box when he wants to. In this fight, against a 6’2″ slugger with nothing to lose, Joshua should definitely use his boxing ability.
Prediction – Joshua vs. Ruiz
I predict a mid-round knockout victory for Anthony Joshua. With his height and reach advantages, I think that it will be much easier for Joshua to hit Ruiz cleanly than vice-versa. Though Ruiz has a good chin, I do not think he has ever been hit by anybody as powerful as Joshua. Being the significantly shorter man, Ruiz is going to have to open up and take risks to land his shots, and I think Joshua is skilled enough to capitalize on any mistakes Ruiz makes.
Ruiz is a live underdog though. He has power and he is a smart fighter. If Joshua chooses to throw caution to the wind at some point and just trade with Ruiz, he could get caught with something. You never know. No matter who wins, fans should expect an exciting fight between the consensus top heavyweight and a worthy American challenger.
Is Andy Ruiz a tougher opponent than Jarrell Miller (not counting the PEDs)? Does Joshua have to win in dominant fashion or does he get cut some slack because it is his USA debut? Comment below with your prediction for Joshua vs. Ruiz.