Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz June 1 Preview
WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was in a bind. His opponent next week, number three contender Jarrell Miller, tested positive for illegal drugs three successive times. Miller was out, but who would fight Joshua?
Enter Andy Ruiz, a heavyweight from Imperial, CA, with a record 32 wins in 33 fights, with 21 knockouts. His single loss was to former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in 2016.
The first of June is an important night for Joshua. He’ll be fighting in the United Sates for the first time in his career. Joshua knocked out long-time contender Alexander Povetkin last September.
After he was named as Joshua’s opponent, Ruiz was ridiculed by some on social media for his weight. Joshua came to his defense.
“It's not about what you look like,” said Joshua in a press release. “It’s a craft, a skill, and what's in your heart and your head matters in the end, Andy has shown he has all that. He can fight and box. That's what matters.”
The 6-7-inch Joshua is undefeated in 22 fights, scoring 21 knockouts. His fight with Povetkin, who came into the bout the loser of only one fight, had worrisome moments as the former international heavyweight champion was able to stun him. Joshua worked through these issues with power, eventually stopping Povetkin in seven intense rounds.
Joshua, 29, was brought along slowly, plowing through one opponent after another before meeting once undisputed heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko two years ago. The fight was something of a heavyweight donnybrook.
Ninety thousand fight fans packed Wembley Stadium as they did in the glory days of Jack Dempsey. The first four rounds were fought at even pace. It was like waiting for a bomb to go off. That happened in round five when Joshua went after Klitschko like a man possessed. A number of hard blows floored the former champion.
The bout appeared over, but Klitschko, showing championship heart, was up at six. Joshua tried to end the fight, but the cagey Klitschko held on and stayed out of range, even hurting his exhausted opponent.
Klitschko turned the tables in the next round. A right filled with TNT crashed off Joshua’s chin, sending him down for the first time in his young career. Woozy, Joshua got up and fought to survive. Entering round 11, the fight was still up for grabs.
Joshua had shown championship heart, while Klitschko fought well. The tide changed again when Joshua connected with a straight right that buckled Klitschko’s knees. Seconds later, a culmination of blows sent Klitschko to the canvas for a second time.
Klitschko was hurt, and everybody in the arena knew it. He got up, but was down again seconds later when Joshua landed a pulverizing left hook.
The old champion pulled himself up, gazing at his former sparring partner as the referee counted, like a man waiting for the executioner to flip the switch. Joshua forced Klitschko into the ropes and let fly with a number of punches, forcing the referee to halt the contest.
Ruiz, 29, will enter the ring a huge underdog. Right now, the odds stack up this way. Ruiz is at +800, meaning that a $100 bet could win $800.
Joshua, is sitting at a 20-1 favorite, which would require a $2,000 bet to collect $100.
Ruiz understands that the odds are stacked against him.
“A lot of people underestimated me, and I’m used to that,” Ruiz told Kevin Mitchell Theguardian.com a few weeks ago. “My whole life people underrated me. I’m not going in there scared and I’m not going in there nervous. I’m going to go in there mad and to take what’s mine.”
Could Ruiz pull off the upset? It’s possible. He last fought less than a month ago, stopping Alexander Dimintrenko in round five. Nowadays, fighters aren’t usually this active, but staying busy helps Ruiz, who’s weight can balloon between fights. Instead he immediately returned to the gym after dispatching Dimintrenko. Ruiz has fast hands, a good chin, and goes to the body well.
Joshua was buzzed by Dillian Whyte a few years ago, and by Povetkin. Many have wondered about his chin, and stamina. And he might have a hard time getting up for Ruiz, since everyone is predicting a quick knockout.
The odds will likely come down a tad as fight night draws closer, but Joshua is a big favorite for a reason. He’s the taller fighter by four inches, and hits harder. Ruiz will climb the mountain as far as he can, but ultimately fall inside of 10 rounds.
Bet on Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz June 1 at BetAmerica.
Photo by Ryan Tang