Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr fight preview
AJ heads stateside for the first time in his career to retain his IBF, WBO, IBO and WBA Heavyweight titles.
Date: Saturday 1st June, 2019
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City
Where to watch: Sky Sports Box Office
Anthony Joshua’s next fight takes his boxing career across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, as he takes on Andy Ruiz Jr in ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’ Madison Square Garden.
The fight will pit the pair up against each other for the first time, with the four belts Anthony Joshua currently holds on the line. He currently holds the IBF, WBO, IBO and WBA Heavyweight titles.
Madison Square Garden is located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City and has a capacity of 20,789. It is the home of the New York Knicks basketball team, and the New York Rangers ice hockey side.
MSG has previously hosted some of the most historic fights in history. In 1951, Rocky Marcano knocked out Joe Louis in the 8th round, before hosting both Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier bouts in 1971 and 1974.
Joe Calzaghe won his last professional bout at MSG with a unanimous decision over Roy Jones, Jr in 2008.
Andy Ruiz Jr was not the first choice for Anthony Joshua, but he has stepped in as a late replacement after Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller failed a drugs test and had to withdraw from the bout at MSG.
After picking up a gold medal in the super-heavyweight class at the London 2012 Olympics, Joshua turned professional and has remained unbeaten in his seven years as a professional.
The 29-year-old has fought in 22 professional bouts, winning 21 by knockout. His only win that wasn’t by knockout came against Joseph Parker in March 2018 at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff where he won by unanimous decision to pick up the WBO heavyweight title.
His last fight came against the Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, where AJ won by technical knockout in round seven. Following a series of left and right hook shots landed by Joshua, Povetkin’s team called an end to the fight.
Prior to his unanimous decision win over Parker, he’d beaten Carlos Takam by TKO at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in the 10th round. It was considered one of the more controversial stoppages of AJ’s career as Takam appeared to be fine, however the referee stopped the fight due to a cut above both eyes and warning from the doctor to not allow Takam to take too many more hits to the face.
AJ has an orthodox boxing style, which means he leads with his left foot forward. It is the more common stance in boxing and favours the dominant right side.
With AJ making his U.S debut, he’ll be looking to put on a show but will remain cautious to the threat posed by Ruiz Jr. He could go all out to get a first-round stoppage before settling down for a longer bout if Ruiz Jr makes it through the first few rounds.
Where is Anthony Joshua from?
Anthony Joshua started from humble beginnings, growing up in Watford, Hertfordshire. Prior to becoming a professional boxer, he was a bricklayer.
Joshua learned and perfected his craft at Finchley ABC, where he’d been boxing through his teenage years before being put on remand at Reading Prison.
On release, he was forced to wear an electronic tag before a talk with Finchley ABC coach Sean Murphy made him realise that being involved in crime could put an end to AJ’s potential boxing career.
Since that moment, Joshua has used that talk as inspiration and has gone from strength to strength.
The 29-year old Mexican American professional boxer wasn’t set to fight against Anthony Joshua, but after Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller was forced to withdraw through a failed drugs test, The Destroyer was the first name on the list to step in.
He’s only lost once in his 33 professional bouts, where he lost to Joseph Parker by a majority decision in 2016, which was Ruiz Jr’s only ever challenge for the WBO heavyweight title.
He’s won three on the spin since that loss, beating the likes of Devin Vargas, Kevin Johnson and Alexander Dimitrenko.
Of his 32 professional wins, he’s won 21 by knockout, with his most recent KO coming against Vargas in March 2018.
Like Joshua, Ruiz Jr also boxes with an orthodox stance, leading with his left foot and boxing predominantly with his right hand, using his left as protection.
Ruiz Jr has nothing to lose from this fight in reality. Being called in at the last minute as a replacement and being the heavy underdog, he’s not expected to overcome Joshua.
With this in mind, Ruiz Jr could unleash everything he has early on to try and stun Joshua, but he could also sit back and be defensive to play the long game to frustrate AJ into making a mistake and giving him an opportunity to steal the win.
Where is Andy Ruiz Jr from?
Ruiz Jr was born in Imperial Valley, California in September 1989 to Mexican parents. His amateur career record stands at 105 wins to five defeats under his Cuban trainer Fernando Ferrer.
He has also previously won two Mexican National Junior Olympic gold medals, and the World Ringside Heavyweight Championship. He previously attempted to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but lost to Cuba’s Robert Alfonso and Colombian Oscar Rivas, so missed out on qualification.
He made his professional debut against fellow Mexican Miguel Ramirez in March 2009 and made an impression instantly, winning both of his first two fights within the first rounds by knockout.
Who was AJ due to fight?
Anthony Joshua was due to fight Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on the 1st June at Madison Square Garden, but Miller was forced to pull out of the bout after failing a drugs test.
This meant that a last minute replacement had to be found, and it was Andy Ruiz Jr who was the most compelling and feasible option for the fight, and one of the only options that allowed for the fight to take place on the same day.
Many fans were disappointed by both announcements as they’ve wanted to see Anthony Joshua take a harder fight for years, with a mega-fight against Deontay Wilder the one which boxing fans have wanted for a long time.
Wilder has had a big boxing match of his own recently, taking to the ring to fight Dominic Breazeale at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York.
His bout with Breazeale lasted only 137 seconds after Wilder came out of the blocks in electric fashion and knocked his challenger out in the first round to retain his WBC heavyweight title.
If a bout between Joshua and Wilder ever takes place, all five belts will be up for grabs to make the winner the undisputed heavyweight champions of the world. The last boxer to achieve this title was Lennox Lewis in November 1999.
View the latest Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr. odds at Coral.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.