Anthony Joshua to face Andy Ruiz Jr in New York Next Month

Jarrell Miller was supposed to fight Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden on June 1st, but the trash-talking American stayed true to his nickname. Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller failed a doping test, actually, he failed three such tests, robbing the boxing world of another huge spectacle. But, then Andy Ruiz Jr came to the rescue.

And for many fans, Andy Ruiz Jr is an ideal choice. He might not be as fit as Jarrell Miller, nor have a long reach as AJ, but this guy definitely belongs here. Entertainment is guaranteed when Andy Ruiz Jr fights and for this particular duel, he’s vowed to “make history”. Whether he’ll make it by defeating the unified world heavyweight champion or by getting gloriously knocked out really doesn’t matter much. What matters is that we’re up for a real spectacle.


So, Who’s Andy Ruiz Jr?

Even if you’re not too much into boxing, the chances are that you know who Anthony Joshua is. But, have you heard about his challenger Andy Ruiz Jr a.k.a. “The Destroyer”? If not, you definitely want to learn more about him! At first look, you might think of him as a potbellied devil-may-care kind of a guy, but the 262lbs-heavy Mexican has already challenged the heavyweight title once.

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Andy Ruiz Jr. punches Tor Hamer (L) of the U.S., during their 10-round WBO Intercontinental and the vacant NABF heavyweight title boxing match at the Venetian Macao hotel in Macau November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

It happened back in 2016 when he lost to Australian Joseph Parker in a fight that decided the WBO heavyweight champion. Parker held that belt in his possession for nearly two years, before getting it taken away from him by no other than Anthony Joshua. In fact, winning that title meant that Anthony Joshua became the unified world heavyweight champion, currently holding three out of four major boxing championships.

Andy Ruiz did fail to get the championship belt from Joseph Parker, but that was his first defeat in a professional career that’s more than a decade long. His current professional boxing record is 32 wins (21 by KO and 11 by decision) and only one defeat by decision.

Obviously, his stats are proof that looks can be deceiving. With the looks of a couch potato, Andy Ruiz certainly doesn’t give the impression of someone who could challenge the world title. Not only is he substantially shorter than Joshua and has a big reach disadvantage, but with over 260 pounds, he might not be too great in terms of stamina. But, his professional record suggests otherwise. The fact that the Destroyer has knocked out 21 opponents in his career is definitely a warning sign to Joshua to be extra careful.


Is AJ Ready for the Big Fight?

When you’re the king of the world, everyone wants your head. And Anthony Joshua is definitely the current heavyweight boxing king, holding the IBF, WBA, and WBO title. He could add another one to his collection – if he wins against Ruiz, he’s going to be crowned the IBO champion as well. The big question is whether Andy Ruiz can become a kingslayer?

Joshua has been out of the ring since last September when he got an impressive win in the stoppage time against Alexander Povetkin. The last time AJ’s opponent fought a professional match was in April, a fight that took place at a college campus during daylight.

Unlike the Destroyer, Joshua took the time between the two fights to get ready for June 1, both physically and mentally. The only problem is that for the last couple of months, he had been preparing for a clash with Jarrell Miller, not Andy Ruiz, who’s a different type of fighter.

Similarly to Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz is also an elite puncher who likes finishing fights with a knock-out. Actually, both fighters have 21 wins by KO in their career, which isn’t something many other boxers have in their portfolios. Another potential problem for AJ is that the Destroyer is famous as an eccentric fighter, who always manages to deliver an incredibly high level of entertainment to the fans.

Described by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn as a fighter with a “Mexican heart”, Andy Ruiz has surprised the pundits many times over the years by knocking-out some big favorites. But, is AJ simply too big to fail? According to the man himself, he’s more than ready to take on any opponent in the world, Andy Ruiz included.

Andy Ruiz is a Mexican-American boxer, based in California, but it’s expected that the majority of crowd at the stands of Madison Square Garden will be cheering for Joshua. This is going to be his first-ever professional match outside the UK, but the world has already fallen in love with the British boxer.

AJ is one of the most popular foreign athletes among American fans and his matches are watched live by hundreds of thousands of viewers from the US. His fight against Joseph Parker, for example, was broadcasted live by Showtime to nearly 350,000 viewers and almost half a million viewers watched the first replay.


Can David Beat Goliath?

Just to be clear, the giant in this metaphor is not the 262-pounder Andy Ruiz but the boxing colossus, Anthony Joshua. After all, the UK boxing legend is the one who currently sits on the throne. Actually, three of them. So, can Ruiz dethrone him?

According to boxing experts, such a scenario seems very unlikely. Anthony Joshua is considered the best heavyweight boxer on the planet at the moment, currently sitting at the top of the rankings provided by a number of reputable organizations, including BoxRec, TBRB, and others. And the fact that he’s the current holder of three of the four biggest championships in the boxing world certainly makes him the favorite here.

And the best boxing betting sites agree with this. AJ is a huge favorite to win this fight, with the current odds being only -3333.33. If you wanted to put your money on Andy Ruiz, the odds you’d get at most books are around +1200.

But, upsets do happen in professional boxing. Just think of the time when Tyson Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko or when Mike Tyson got knocked-out by James “Buster” Douglas. History taught us that even the biggest favorites can lose to underdogs, all that’s needed is a lucky punch. And Andy Ruiz is definitely someone who can punch hard.


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Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: