As soon as we found out heavyweight challenger Jarrell Miller had failed not one, not two but three drug tests and AJ’s American coming out party was in jeopardy speculation as to who it would be was rife. Would it be the southpaw Cuban Luis Ortiz? Would it be Miller’s polish American Stablemate Adam Kownacki? Recent Matchroom signing Michael Hunter or even Joshua’s old nemesis Dillian Whyte. It would be none. Boxing politics, price gouging, and fear of Joshua prevented what everyone thought would be a scramble to be the man to challenge for the unified heavyweight championship of the world. However, during the mass fumble of excuses, offers, and counter-offers one man stood ready to accept the gargantuan task, that man was Andy Ruiz Jr.
Now the fight is booked and happening on June 1st I want to take a look at both men and analyze what it is they will need to do to win.
The Champion: Anthony Joshua
The Tale of the Tape
Weight : 245lbs (17 1/2 stone)
Reach: 82 inches (208cm)
Best attribute: Joshua’s best attribute is very difficult to define is because it is, for me his well-roundedness. Where Wilder relies massively on one punch power and Fury on footwork and movement, AJ uses both of these but relies on neither one to see himself through. He, aided by head coach Rob McCracken, uses different attributes depending on the fighter he is facing and because of his varied skill set, he is able to do this. Against Joseph Parker, he showed his head moment, ability to cut off the ring and his patience, against Wladimir Klitschko he demonstrated heart, resilience and combination punching and against Dominic Breazeale and Alexander Povetkin (and every fight leading up to that one) he demonstrated his huge punching power and ability to outmuscle and bully his opponents. Well-roundedness and adaptability is for me the reason why he is the number one heavyweight in the world right now and is the clear favorite for June the first.
Key to Victory: Analyzing Ruiz’s weaknesses in comparison to Joshua’s strengths I believe the best way for Joshua to win is for him to impose his physicality. Anthony Joshua is 4 inches taller, has a staggering 10-inch reach advantage and although Ruiz will more than likely come in heavier than AJ in terms of muscle weight and strength the champion will have a significant advantage. This will prove significant in the fight as Ruiz is at his best when his opponents are on the back foot when a taller man is leaning away from him and he is able to dive in with fast combinations. If Joshua pushes Ruiz back using his physical attributes to prevent Ruiz lunging in and keeps him moving backward at the end of his long arms Ruiz will struggle to work effectively and will fall foul of AJ’s immense power.
The Challenger: Andy Ruiz Jr
The Tale of the Tape
Weight: 262lbs (18 1/2 stone)
Reach: 72 inches (208cm)
Best Attribute: We can all agree it isn’t his physic…however Andy Ruiz does bring superb Hand speed to the ring when he takes on the unified champion on June the first. He, despite his size, has the ability to throw lighting combinations when he has his man where he wants him. The is key in the heavyweight division as everyone can hit very hard and everyone can take a punch so delivering that power with speed and in combinations is what has made Andy Ruiz Jr a credible replacement for the steroid Junkie known as the ‘Big Baby’.
Key to Victory: Joshua’s Career, despite his immaculate record, has had its touch and go moments, Wobbled by Povetkin and Whyte and Dropped hard by Wladimir Klitschko there is plenty of footage Ruiz can look at to try and spot a weakness in the Champion. I think the key to victory is a Fast start from Ruiz. The only knockdown of AJ’s career came at the hand of one of the finest heavyweights of the modern era and this will be hard to replicate, however, the other two hard shots that landed Ruiz could well be capable of. Both Whyte and Povetkin gave up height and strength against Joshua but both used their speed to catch him in the first two rounds with big left hooks. AJ likes to settle into the fight, setting a rhythm and if Ruiz can disrupt this and jump on him early, possibly with a left hook, he could be able to pull off an upset up there with Lewis v Rahman or Douglas v Tyson.
Prediction: Unsurprisingly I will be siding with the heavy favorite. As well as being a huge Anthony Joshua fan I think this, although a more competitive matchup that Joshua v Miller, still heavily favors the champion. I think that Joshua is too skilled, too big, too strong and although Ruiz has more fights Joshua is accustomed to the circus which surrounds him and the heavyweight championship. I think that the size of the event will effect Ruiz and he will freeze under the lights of the event, allowing Johsua to work his Jab, from this I think AJ will be able to establish a rhythm holding the challenger at bay and beginning to unleash his feared combinations. Although Ruiz is unquestionably durable I truly believe Joshua is a supreme talent and will use his devastating combinations to stop Ruiz in the mid to late rounds.
Written by Ewan Breeze for SimBoxx
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