Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr Betting Preview6 min read
It has been a long nine months since Anthony Joshua’s last fight but the world heavyweight champion returns this weekend with his much-anticipated American debut.
Joshua defends his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday night against Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr at the iconic Madison Square Garden.
The build-up to the fight has been far from straight forward though with original opponent Jarrell Miller dropping out last month after failing drugs tests.
Ruiz Jr was brought in as a late replacement for Miller at the start of May and Joshua is an overwhelming 1/25 favourite to extend his unbeaten record.
Joshua has barely put a foot wrong since his professional debut in 2013 with the Watford boxer boasting a perfect record of 22 wins with 21 coming inside the distance.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist was crowned world heavyweight champion three years ago, in just his 16th bout, after stopping Charles Martin in the second round.
After defending his IBF title with victories over Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina, he was transformed into a global star in 2017 after his stunning win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium.
Joshua was knocked down for the first time in the sixth round but recovered to stop the Ukraine boxer in the 11th round to win the WBA belt in front of a record crowd.
A tenth round stoppage of Carlos Takam in Cardiff followed at the end of the year before Joshua was taken the distance for the first time in his professional career against Joseph Parker.
The unanimous points victory at the Principality Stadium last April saw Joshua unify the WBO world heavyweight title.
The 29-year-old’s last fight came in September at Wembley with Joshua stopping Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round.
AJ has been left frustrated in his bid to unify the world heavyweight titles with a fight against unbeaten WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who has agreed to face Luis Ortiz in a rematch next, failing to get off the ground.
Tyson Fury is another undefeated heavyweight, with a blockbuster fight between the two Britons a hugely appealing prospect, but we are also no closer to seeing them collide in the ring.
Andy Ruiz Jr
Instead Ruiz Jr is the unheralded opponent given the chance to upset the odds and the Mexican is a 10/1 outsider for their New York fight on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old comes in with a record of 32 victories, with 21 by knockout, and one defeat.
Ruiz Jr challenged Parker for the WBO heavyweight title in 2016 but came up just short in Auckland as he lost a tight majority decision.
He responded in his next fight by stopping Devin Vargas in the first round before beating Kevin Johnson by unanimous decision last summer.
Ruiz Jr fought less than two months ago with the Mexican beating Alexander Dimitrenko in April with a fifth round knockout.
Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr
Joshua will not take his replacement opponent lightly although it is still difficult to make a realistic case for Ruiz Jr pulling off a shock.
With Joshua making his long-awaited debut in America, he will be determined to put on a show-stopping performance and needs to produce an eye-catching knockout to dazzle the new audience.
Wilder needed less than a round to knockout Breazeale a few weeks ago and Joshua will know he needs to make a statement with an explosive performance.
Ruiz Jr has never been stopped and has fast hands but he has also never been in the ring with a boxer that has the concussive power Joshua possesses.
A Joshua win by KO, TKO or disqualification is as short as 2/9 so it looks like it will be another short night for the unbeaten champion.
But Joshua’s last four fights have all gone more than six rounds and he will not be willing to take any big risks early on against Ruiz Jr, even though he has a huge size and reach advantage over the Mexican.
Expect the champion to show patience in the early rounds before his devastating power finishes off Ruiz Jr in the latter stages.
Backing the fight to go over 6.5 rounds at Evens looks the way to go with Joshua likely to produce a big stoppage win in New York as the bout progresses.
Back over 6.5 rounds at