Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr - American debut tipped to end with explosive stoppage

WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight world champion to showcase his skills at the ‘Mecca of boxing’
Anthony Joshua belts
Anthony Joshua is the current WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight Champion (Getty Images)

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips


Unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua will make his United States debut at Madison Square Garden on June 1 against late replacement Andy Ruiz Jr. 

The build-up to the British superstar’s first Stateside fight has been fraught with turmoil following original opponent Jarrell Miller’s multiple failed drug tests. Stepping up to replace ‘Big Baby’ is Ruiz Jr who is bidding to become the first Mexican to win a heavyweight world title. 

What: Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City
When: Sunday, 2 June 2019 at 4am (GMT)

Anthony Joshua History, Form & Boxing Style


Nationality: British
Age: 29 (15/101989)
Professional record: 22-0-0 (21KOs)
Height: 6’ 6” / 198cm
Reach: 82” / 208cm
Stance: Orthodox 

One of the UK’s biggest sporting superstars, Joshua has transcended boxing and become a household name. After clinching gold at the 2012 London Olympics, AJ entered the pro ranks and quickly established himself as the most exciting prospect in the heavyweight division with a succession of early knockouts. 

Joshua clinched his first world title - the IBF belt - in his 16th fight with an embarrassingly easy second round knockout of Charles Martin. 

Two straightforward defences against Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina followed before an all-time classic with Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017. Joshua continued to win and claimed an 11th round TKO to add the WBA title to his collection. 

AJ then added the WBO belt with a one-sided points win over Joseph Parker. His first and only defence of the three titles was a seventh round TKO of Alexander Povetkin last time out.

Alexander Povetkin joshua
Anthony Joshua knocked out Alexander Povetkin in his last fight at Wembley Stadium on September 22, 2018 (Getty Images)

Now Joshua takes his belts and reputation Stateside. The 29-year-old’s knockout power and athleticism is obvious: he has flattened opponents who had never previously hit the canvas and his fight with Ruiz is not expected to reach the final bell (fight not to last the distance @ 1.22 at bet365). 

Anthony Joshua also possesses an impressive set of boxing skills, starting with a quick and stiff jab that sets up many of his attacks. He has nimble footwork, good movement and a sharp brain that ensures he stays calm under pressure. 

Joshua’s defence needs some work and he has been caught with a few big shots in his career, particularly when up against accomplished fighters. But so far, he has absorbed any punishment without it proving too costly.

An impressive win in New York City will only further bolster his reputation before the inevitable calls  resume to face Deontay Wilder and/or Tyson Fury in the near future. 

Andy Ruiz Jr History, Form & Boxing Style


A few eyebrows were raised when Andy Ruiz Jr was named as the fighter to replace Miller with a month’s notice. After all, this is a man who on appearances looks more like a darts player than a prizefighter.  

But that would be to diminish the threat posed by the 29-year-old Mexican, whose only loss came in a narrow majority-points defeat to Parker in his first attempt at a world title in 2016. 

Granted, Ruiz’s CV is not exactly filled with world-beaters but he has - Parker aside - confidently dealt with every opponent he has been up against. 

Despite his doughy exterior, Ruiz has quick hands and likes to let them go from the inside. He possesses good punch power - as any heavyweight at this level should - and is a fighter not afraid to go to war. 

Andy Ruiz Jr
Andy Ruiz Jr. has fitness and endurance concerns that is likely to hinder him against Anthony Joshua (Getty Images)

While many fight fans were growing excited by the prospect of Joshua facing Miller due to the bad blood between the pair, boxing experts - including Canelo Alvarez - believe Ruiz is a much more competitive opponent than the disgraced American. 

Unsurprisingly, fitness and endurance are weak points and this could prove a critical difference against a fighter as well-conditioned as Joshua. 

Ruiz is a massive underdog (11.00 to win the fight at bet365), but he is sure to leave it all on the line in the hopes of making history as Mexico’s first heavyweight world champion. 

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr Key Stats


  • Knockout percentage: Anthony Joshua 21/22 (95%) / Andy Ruiz Jr: 21/32 (64%). 
  • Stoppages in Rounds 1 and 2: Anthony Joshua 13/22 (59%) / Andy Ruiz Jr: 12/33 (36%).
  • Fights to go full distance: Anthony Joshua: 1/22 (4.5%) / Andy Ruiz Jr: 12/33 (36%).

Verdict


As the odds show, Joshua is a massive favourite for a reason and it would be an almighty shock if the champion did not get the win. Ruiz Jr is durable so an early knockout would be a surprise, but once AJ has settled into the fight and found his range, he should produce a stoppage between rounds 4-6. 

Best bet: Anthony Joshua Win Rounds 4-6 @ 3.20 at bet365 - 2 Units

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