Anthony Joshua will be looking to take America by storm at the weekend as he defends his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts against Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden.
Following the failure to reach an agreement with either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder’s camp, while Jarrell Miller was refused a licence by the New York Athletic Commission after failing a series of drug tests, Andy Ruiz Jr has stepped into the breach for the contest on Saturday night.
Although his record of 32 wins and just 1 defeat in his 33 fights might appear impressive few expect the Mexican to pull off what would be one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history as Joshua makes his debut appearance in the USA when he climbs into the ring for his first fight since September 2018 when he beat Alexander Povetkin.
And the 29-year 0ld AJ will be keen to announce himself to the American audience in style as he seeks a lucrative and eagerly anticipated bout with Deontay Wilder, meaning there may be added pressure on him to produce an electric knockout to finish the fight early.
Ruiz Jr’s sole professional defeat came when he was on the wrong end of a points decision to Joseph Parker, the same fighter who was beaten by Joshua and Dillian Whyte, and the 29-year old remains optimistic that he can take the fight to the Englishman from the moment the first bell sounds.
But such is the magnitude of the task which faces him Ruiz is a massive 13.00* to land the spoils here and inflict a first career defeat on Joshua in his professional career while the reigning champ is 1.01* to remain unbeaten.
Keen to make a good impression Joshua will be looking to end this one as early as possible, though he last stopped a fighter in the opening round when beating Gary Cornish in September 2015, and has been forced to go past the opening three rounds in six of his last eight fights – possibly the reason he is 10.50* to be victorious in the first three minutes on this occasion.
Joshua has only been taken the distance once in his 22-fight professional career and that was by Joseph Parker and it’s 4.40* that this fight goes to the judges’ scorecards while Ruiz is a slightly bigger 22.00* chance to win this having gone the distance.
The result of the contest might not be in doubt and if the market is anything to go by nor is the outcome with Joshua as short as 1.21* to win the fight by knockout, technical knockout or disqualification; proving that this matchup is considered by many to be little more than a competitive workout for the former Olympic champion who clearly has his sights on a bigger prize further down the line.
*Odds subject to change