Preview: Joshua vs. Ruiz 2
By Robert Ecksel on December 5, 2019
Ruiz is determined to prove that his victory over Joshua in the first fight was no fluke.
On Saturday, December 7, in a fight streamed live on DAZN from Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs), the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO heavyweight champion from Imperial, California, will defend his titles against Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), the former unified heavyweight champion from Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, who he dethroned six months ago in the Upset of the Year.
Ruiz shocked the world when he stopped Joshua at Madison Square Garden in June. Coming into the fight on just three week’s notice, nobody gave Ruiz much of a chance of defeating the now-former titleholder. One only had to look at the two fighters, instead of studying their records, backgrounds and technique, to know that the chubby Mexican-American, a virtual unknown, by daring to challenge a beloved Adonis, was facing an awful whooping. But Ruiz, who had been boxing since he was a boy, was an 11:1 underdog facing a reigning and defending champion who, however powerful, was still wet behind the years. He dropped AJ four times before the referee waved it off in round seven, proving many things that night in New York City: that boxing is unpredictable as ever; not every fight is a mismatch; boxing is a skill and not a strength sport; and you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Ruiz has been feted for striking a blow for fat men everywhere. Everyone said it could be done and he proved everyone wrong. Joshua is anything but a malignant presence in the sport, where the competition is stiff. He never acted the clown. He never behaved like a thug. He was also as gracious in defeat as he had been in victory, which is a testament to his character. But this weekend’s fight, called “Clash on the Dunes,” is a make or break proposition for the Englishman. He has dropped weight and no longer looks like a bodybuilder. Presumably he’ll be faster as a result and better able to use the ring and deflect Ruiz’s punches. Ruiz has put on weight, but is coming into the bout determined to prove that his victory in the first fight was no fluke.
“I’m fighting the best man in the world now,” Joshua told Sky Sports, apparently having overlooked the existence of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. “I’m going to whoop him, and show how great I am. They think he’s so great, so when I beat him, I want everybody to bow to my feet.”
One person that won’t be bowing, at least not without a fight, is Andy Ruiz Jr., who better stop Joshua a second time if he hopes to return to Cali a champion.
"I still [have] a lot more to prove," he said. "A lot of people are saying that it was just a lucky shot, but no way, man."