Will Joshua Earn His Belts Back or Can Ruiz Claim A Win Double?
Last summer, Liverpool’s Champions League success was knocked off the back pages after just a few hours when the supposed massive underdog Andy Ruiz Jnr shocked the world with a sensational knockout win over the formerly unbeaten champion Anthony Joshua. Ruiz, who was as much as 11/1 with some bookmakers to win the fight, earned his victory thanks to some heavy handed punching that Joshua could not recover from.
The result shocked the world and threw the Heavyweight division into turmoil. Now instead of a couple of big money fights against Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, Joshua now had to try and win back the belts he had won against Klitschko, while Ruiz enjoyed his time in the spotlight.
Eddie Hearn had insisted on a rematch clause in this fight and when Joshua’s team activated it, the venue of Saudi Arabia, contentious to say the least with many, was selected for the fight. 15,000 fans will be in attendance in the hastily erected venue to watch Joshua v Ruiz Jnr Part II, with a healthy undercard of fights to support it too.
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Joshua v Ruiz Jnr Part II
Tale of the Tape
|Joshua||Tale of the Tape||Ruiz Jnr|
|Anthony Joshua||Name||Andy Ruiz Jr.|
|Watford, England||Birthplace||Imperial, California|
|15th Oct 1989||Date of Birth||11th Sep 1989|
|6ft 6”||Height||6ft 2”|
|None||Belts Held||WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO|
The fight will take place at the newly erected Diriyah Arena, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on December 7th 2019. It is being shown live in the UK via Pay Per View by Sky Sports Box Office and in America on the streaming platform DAZN.
The First Fight – Background
Anthony Joshua was the massive odds-on favourite to win the first fight between the boxers in Madison Square Gardens back on June 1st. The British Champion had defended all the titles he owned against Carlos Takam, Alexander Povetkin and Joseph Parker in the lead up to the fight and was expected to beat Ruiz to set up a showdown with either Tyson Fury, or WBA Champion Deontay Wilder early in 2020 or in late 2019.
Joshua was originally set to take on Jarrell Miller in his fight in New York, but a series of failed drugs tests meant that Ruiz Jnr was selected as his replacement opponent. Ruiz Jnr had a decent record with just one loss, to Joseph Parker, on his record, a unanimous decision on points that the New Zealander had landed a couple of years earlier.
Ruiz record since had seen a couple of unconvincing wins against lowly heavyweight opponents, but it was noted at the time that Ruiz had the fastest fists in the Heavyweight division and also that he could pack a punch.
The first fight began tentatively in the opening two rounds with neither fighters making much of an impact but in the third round, the fight exploded into life with Joshua catching Ruiz and knocking him to the floor. Many expected the former Champion to go on and win the fight here, but in sensational style, Ruiz came off the canvas and in quick succession, knocked Joshua down onto the floor. However, the Champion didn’t recover as well from his knock down as Ruiz had done and Joshua was clear in distress in the round, being knocked down once again before the bell intervened.
The fourth, fifth and six rounds were quieter but in the 7th Ruiz struck again, knocking down Joshua twice, the second time the Englishman spat out his mouthguard and when the referee asked him if he was ok to continue, Joshua’s response was not sufficient enough for the referee to allow the fight to continue. Ruiz had claimed the biggest shock in boxing since Buster Douglas epic victory over Mike Tyson.
Joshua v Ruiz II – Preview and Tips
The focus of this fight is now very different for both fighters. Rather than simply a stand in for a previous opponent, Ruiz Jnr is now the Champion and has a lot to lose. Likewise, Anthony Joshua now must see this fight as a must-win battle if he is to go on and duke it out with the likes of Wilder and Fury amongst others for the position of best heavyweight in the world today.
Evidence from workouts suggest that both fighters could come into this fight slightly leaner than they were previously and that, of course, could alter the dynamic of the fight considerably.
The bookmakers still have Joshua as the clear favourite despite his defeat last time out. The British challenger is 4/9 with bet365 to regain his titles, while Ruiz is 7/4 to defend them successfully. A draw is the outside bet at 28/1.
How do we see the fight going?
This is going to be an interesting fight, Joshua and Ruiz have purportedly lost weight since the last bout which suggests both may be a bit more nimble, although it may also mean that both lack the power in the punches that they had in the first fight. Joshua’s attention will certainly be piqued as although he does not hold the belts, many feel he still has the most to lose should he suffer another defeat here.
I do feel Joshua’s renewed focus on this fight will serve him better and I do fancy him t land the win and I can’t see this lasting beyond the middle rounds. As such, my tip would be for Joshua to win by a knockout in the fifth round. Joshua is 10/11 to win by knockout and a fifth round victory would land you odds of 14/1.
*All odds shown in this article were correct as of 1pm on Tuesday 3rd December 2019 at bet365.