Is This When Anthony Joshua Will Knock Out Andy Ruiz Jr In New York?

Is This When Anthony Joshua Will Knock Out Andy Ruiz Jr In New York?
07:05, 31 May 2019

On Saturday night Anthony Joshua defends his unified heavyweight titles against Andy Ruiz Jr at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Watford man will step out under those famous lights as the heavy favourite; William Hill currently have an AJ victory at 1/20, while Ruiz is out at 9/1.

This is AJ's first fight on US soil and he's under pressure to perform. Heavyweight rival Deontay Wilder destructively wiped out Dominic Breazeale inside a round earlier this month, eclipsing Joshua's seventh-round TKO of the same opponent. That said, I'm not expecting AJ to get Ruiz out of there early. 

Since defeating Wladimir Klitschko in 2017, AJ has become a more considered operator; using his boxing skills, taking less risks and following trainer Rob McCracken's gameplans explicitly. All three contests since retiring the Ukrainian legend have ended in round seven or later, and I'm predicting more of the same on Saturday.

Using his considerable height and reach advantage, I expect AJ to keep his shorter opponent at distance with his jab, break him down round by round targeting the body regularly, and eventually inflicting Ruiz's first stoppage defeat between rounds 7-9. 

You can get an AJ KO between 7-9 at 9/2. The odds are currently enhanced, but this could change shortly. 

Another scenario could involve AJ keeping him on the end of the jab all night. Ruiz isn't known for having fast feet, and I think he'll have trouble getting into distance to land anything decisive.  You can currently get an AJ points victory, or the fight to go the distance at 7/2.

Ruiz was given six weeks notice for this contest after original opponent Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller was caught using three different performance-enhancing drugs. When we caught up with Eddie Hearn this week, he said he'd "never work with Miller again."

If you're not familiar with the American, Ruiz's best attributes are his fast hands and solid chin. He's very durable and hasn't been stopped in 33 fights. Although he does have one defeat on his record, a controversial points loss to Joseph Parker in New Zealand last year.

This week we had a conversation with Joeseph Parker's trainer Kevin Barry, who masterminded Ruiz's solitary loss. Barry revealed in the interview that Parker had told him that the American punches harder than AJ. 

If you think Andy Ruiz can do the unthinkable and stop the unified heavyweight champion of the world, you can currently get a Ruiz KO out at 20/1.

I believe Ruiz will come to fight, and will give AJ something to think about in those early rounds. But ultimately the sheer size disparity between the pair will be the telling factor. AJ too big, too strong. Ruiz game, but lacking fleet of foot and elite power to put a dent in the champion.

The news broke this week that Deontay Wilder has signed a rematch with Luis Ortiz, pushing a potential AJ super fight back to next year.

Should Joshua come through as expected on Saturday, he'll likely be back out around December against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev, Oleksandr Usyk, or London rival Dillian Whyte. With Usyk yet to fight at heavyweight and Whyte pursuing the WBC route, my money's on Pulev. 

Sporting Calendar