On Saturday, June 1, 2019, British superstar Anthony Joshua looks to take another step in cementing his legacy as he makes his American debut against a deceptively quick Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz Jr.
The lead up to the Heavyweight scrap has been everything except boring, as Ruiz was not even meant to be Joshua’s original opponent.
The original fight versus Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller was trashed due to Miller testing positive for three separate types of PEDs, followed by a fight against Cuban contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz being turned down.
After both of these fights failed to come to fruition, Ruiz stepped up, raving at the opportunity to upset the heavy favorite and snatch the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF titles from the hands of Joshua.
Though the third choice for this matchup, Ruiz has proved himself no joke. At 32-1 with 21 knockouts, the Destroyer’s only loss came to former Heavyweight champion Joseph Parker by majority decision.
Since his loss in 2016, Ruiz has been on a warpath, on a three-fight winning streak and showing no signs of slowing down.
Anthony Joshua is arguably the biggest name in boxing right now, and is looking to be the next superstar that transcends the sport of boxing. Boasting an impressive 22-0 record with 21 knockouts, Joshua has carved up each and every one of his opponents thus far.
Joshua also boasts a far more impressive resume than his opponent, having knocked out Heavyweight legend Wladimir Klitschko and fierce contender Alexander Povetkin, as well as dominating the only man to defeat Ruiz to this point, Joseph Parker.
Beyond resumes, Joshua also holds a physical advantage over Ruiz, standing four inches taller than him at 6’6″ with a reach of 82″, a full eight inches longer than Ruiz.
Ruiz, 6’2″ with a 74″ reach, is no novice when it comes to dealing with taller opponents however, as two of his last three opponents have been AJ‘s size or larger.
Though facing a steep uphill battle in resume and size, stylistically, Andy Ruiz is in a position to give Anthony Joshua a test he may not be expecting. With his quick hands and vicious combinations, Ruiz could surprise Joshua from the inside and give the taller fighter a battering to the body.
In order for Ruiz to do this however, he would have to find his way inside of Anthony Joshua’s stiff jab, and be able to hold his ground in the pocket. Joshua’s natural “seek and destroy” style will be in full affect as he looks to hammer Ruiz out early, so Ruiz must be ready to avoid that onslaught from the opening bell.
When it is all said and done, the combination of a tough fighter in Ruiz and the pressure of needing to match Deontay Wilder‘s devastating knockout just two weeks earlier will prove to be an interesting test for Anthony Joshua.
The British superstar will have to look to not only win, but to make a statement while doing so.