Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. confirmed June 1
By Trevor McIntyre: It’s now official that heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) will be making his next title defense against American Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1st on Sky Box Office and DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 260+ pound Ruiz Jr. doesn’t look the part of a world title challenger, but he fights better than he looks. That’s what Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping for. It would be bad if Joshua blows out Ruiz Jr. in the first round.
There isn’t a lot of buzz from boxing fans at the news of the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. fight being confirmed today. Hearn likely thought this fight would go over real well with fans in the U.S and worldwide. It hasn’t. The timing of the announcement is bad. Most U.S fans are concentrating on the arguably more competitive fight on paper between middleweight champions Saul Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs, which will be taking place this Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. It would have been better if Hearn had delayed the announcement of the Joshua vs. Ruiz fight until at least Friday of next week. That way the boxing fans would no longer be talking as much about the Canelo vs. Jacobs fight. A one week delay of the Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. fight wouldn’t have hurt it.
Many fans are complaining about the Joshua-Ruiz fight, and wondering why Joshua is fighting Ruiz Jr. instead of Luis Ortiz, Michael Hunter or Oleksandr Usyk. The fans that see Ruiz as a decent opponent point out that there wasn’t much time to find a replacement for Joshua to fight after his originally scheduled opponent Jarrell Miller was popped in three drug tests. They also point out that Ruiz Jr. is a better fighter than he looks. Let’s hope so.
If Joshua crushes Ruiz Jr., the fans are going to be critical afterwards, especially if this type of match-making becomes a habit . If Joshua is going to be coming to the U.S each time for mismatches against guys that have no chance of beating him, then it’s going to be a negative for his career. He won’t become a star in the U.S. He’ll be like Amir Khan, a British fighter, who fought in the U.S for 10 years, and failed to make it to stardom due to a combination of weak match-making and his losses to Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson and Saul Canelo Alvarez.
The Southern California native Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) wasn’t the one that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wanted for him to fight for AJ’s debut in the U.S. Hearn’s initial choice was the well-spoke, 315 pound New Yorker Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs), who would have done most of the heavy lifting in promoting the fight with his verbal skills, and his ability to create attention with his actions during the news conferences. Unfortunately, Miller tested positive for banned substances three times after the fight was signed, and he was removed from the fight. The 29-year-old Ruiz Jr. was found as the replacement for Miller.
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