Anthony Joshua will go for his fifth defense as a unified champion in his American debut!
Undefeated unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) will look to make his American debut against Andy Ruiz (32-1, 21KOs) a successful one. This should be an entertaining fight while it lasts as both fighters employ styles that produce a high work-rate.
The story behind this fight is a compelling one, as Ruiz is a fill in for Jarrell Miller, who squandered his opportunity with multiple failed drug tests.
The California native, coming off an impressive win over Alexander Dimitrenko on April 20, threw his name in the hat. Ruiz was relentless with his social media campaign and his persistence paid off, as he landed the fight.
Ruiz’s Game Plan
The keys to victory in this fight are simple. First for Ruiz, he needs to have the fight of his life and that’s a tall order considering he’s coming off a short training camp and short rest after fighting April 20th.
What Ruiz brings to the fight is great hand speed, accuracy, and excellent durability. He needs all of these attributes, plus a few extras to pull off an improbable upset.
First and foremost, the challenger will need to avoid Joshua’s jab. Ruiz has an eight inch reach disadvantage, so his head movement, feinting, and timing will need to be flawless.
Where he excels is at medium range where his hand speed can be utilized against Joshua’s leaky defense. The next area Ruiz needs to be on point is footwork. The Californian isn’t particularly fleet of foot but, he has decent short range quickness.
The British champion has very linear footwork and this makes him vulnerable to overhand rights. Ruiz has to exploit this at all costs. If he can accomplish this, he can pull off what would be a historic upset.
Joshua’s Game Plan
For Anthony Joshua to keep his perfect record intact, he needs to keep things simple. First, he has an eight inch reach advantage and an educated jab.
Joshua will need to stay behind his jab to generate offense while keeping his opponent at bay. The UK slugger sometimes gets away from this because he likes to throw in combination. In this fight, less is more. If the champ is consistent with his jab, Ruiz won’t be able to get off-tracked.
Joshua also needs to push the pace. As the challenger is coming off short rest and a short training camp, it’s highly unlikely he has much in the tank.
Last, Joshua needs to hook off the jab and target the body. With Ruiz coming into the fight under such difficult circumstances, Joshua needs to make him feel every bit of those challenges.
The final conclusion is that Joshua should win by a mid to late round stoppage. Expect a barn burner early, as both fighters like to exchange and Ruiz knows he’ll need a fast start to have a chance to win.
Ultimately, Joshua is just a higher level fighter with not only every physical advantage, but the circumstances are also heavily in his favor. The heart and durability of the challenger will provide some compelling moments, but it simply won’t be enough.
By: Corey Cunningham