Sunday 2 June: 4am
Live on Sky Sports Box Office
It’s not the match that Anthony Joshua initially intended to have for his USA debut as he faces Andy Ruiz Jr. at the legendary Madison Square Garden. Joshua will be looking to extend his unbeaten professional record and it’s a fight he has to win if those dreams of taking on Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are to become reality.
Anthony Joshua puts his world heavyweight titles on the line at the weekend as he takes on replacement Andy Ruiz Jr.. That’s not his original opponent after Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller was banned after failing a drugs test. Joshua will want to impress those watching as he makes his US debut and a defeat would be a total disaster for him. Joshua is 1/18 (1.05) at Betfred to win this fight.
The world heavweight title scene continues to be frustrating. We all want to see Joshua v Wilder for the undisputed title but that still looks a long way off. The same goes for a match-up with either Tyson Fury or Dillian Whyte, who are possibly going to meet later this year.
Since winning the heavyweight title three years ago, Joshua has won his last six fights. His most recent defence was a seventh round stoppage of Alexander Povetkin last September. It’s 2/9 (1.22) at William Hill that Joshua wins this fight via a KO, TKO or disqualification.
Only one has Joshua had to go the distance in a pro fight. That was his title defence against Joseph Parker when the referee really ruined the fight. You can get odds of 18/5 (4.6) at Betfred on him winning this fight on a points decision.
Andy Ruiz Jr. comes into this fight with a professional record of 32 wins and just one defeat. Boxrec have him at the 14th best heavyweight in the world and he has won his last three fights. The 29-year-old’s only loss came in 2016 when he travelled to New Zealand to take on Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO Heavyweight title.
That fight was lost on a narrow points decision. Two judges gave Parker the vote by two points with the other calling it a draw. There were plenty though who felt he had done enough to win the title. He’s 16/1 (17.0) to win this fight on points if placing your bet with William Hill.
His most recent outing was a fifth round stoppage of Alexander Dimitrenko. That fight took place in April of this year and he took four rounds less to beat Dimitrenko than former world title contender Bryant Jennings had. This is a big step up though for the challenger and he’s 17/2 (9.5) at Betfred to win this fight.
Joseph Parker isn’t the only boxer that has met both Joshua and Ruiz Jr. as Kevin Johnson has also fought them both. Ruiz Jr. faced him in July of last year earning a wide 10 rounds points decision. Joshua took on Johnson four years ago and stopped him in two rounds. A win for Ruiz Jr. in
The challenger has weighed over 250 lbs in his last couple of fights. He doesn’t quite have the physique of a Joshua or a Wilder but he does pack a punch. 21 of his wins have come inside the distance though the inability to put Johnson away shows he’s not quite in the class of Joshua as a heavy puncher. You can get odds of 20/1 (21.0) at William Hill on him beating Joshua inside the distance.
Anthony Joshua is in a difficult situation here. He has this fight just a fortnight after that impressive Wilder knock-out victory. He faces an opponent that has never been stopped in his pro career but hasn’t had that many fights against top level fighters. Joshua has the punching ability to win fights at any time. He’ll want to impress on his US debut and the odds of him winning in rounds 1-6 are 8/11 (1.72) at William Hill.