Ruiz Jr v Joshua – The royal rumble in Saudi Arabia

The rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz is upon us. It is a greatly anticipated rematch and it’s an immediate rematch for the majority of the world titles in the heavyweight division. There’s a lot on the line here. Both Joshua and Andy Ruiz need a win since this will lead to bigger and better things for both fighters. So when the dust settles in Saudi Arabia, who will be the heavyweight champion of the world?

Has Joshua improved enough from the first fight?

Judging from the weigh in it seems like Joshua has changed tactics a lot compared to before. A likely scenario is that Joshua has focused less on lifting weights and more so on the cardio aspect of fighting, which has always been his weakness. The weigh in showed a trim Joshua at 237 lbs the lowest he’s been since 14 fights ago, when he was only a novice in the heavyweight division.

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Joshua also seems to have dialed back a lot of his media obligations, he seems more concentrated and focused on the task at hand. In interviews he doesn’t really pay much attention towards anything else then the goal at hand.

So judging by the loss of weight, the apparent shift of focus in training methods and a more focused approach. I would argue that Joshua has improved, but the question is is it enough to overcome the champion Andy Ruiz Jr?

What happened in the first fight and what has changed for Ruiz since?

Despite coming in as a late replacement there was a lot of things working in Ruiz favor before the last fight. He basically of a training camp against Alexander Dimitrenko, a tall lanky guy who served as a perfect tune up fight for Joshua. It certainly wasn’t expected of Ruiz to blitz Joshua in June, but it does make some kind of sense as you tried to pick up the pieces of what happened. Things are different now and I wonder how Ruiz has used his time in the time between fights. Even though I’m a fan of Joshua I was happy Ruiz won. For too long boxing has been plagued by bs decisions from promoters not putting on the fights the fans have wanted. With Ruiz winning I think the division got a long needed wake up call.

When the weigh in concluded with Ruiz weighing in at a whopping 282 lbs, that’s the heaviest he’s been since the 2nd fight in his entire pro career. I do think Ruiz benefits of having more fat than any other fighter since it doesn’t seem to weigh him down, he uses the extra weight as leverage for his fast combinations and it does seem give him a sort of edge.

However I do think there’s a limit on how much weight is beneficial. I don’t think that having increased 15 lbs will have benefited him. Does this extra weight show a lack of motivation for the fight? I don’t think so. Since his fight he has lived a hectic life for sure with more obligations for fans and country than ever, but I think Ruiz is smart enough to understand that winning this fight puts him in a position where he will be set for life.

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So if this doesn’t show a lack of motivation for the weight, why the extra 15 lbs?

Maybe Ruiz expected Joshua to come in lighter and he wanted to have that extra weight and blast through him early.

Keys to victory for both fighters and my prediction

Joshua is likely looking to not be stationary, looking for single shots and limit his combinations and try to tie up Ruiz on the inside. I think the jab and the uppercut will be keys for victory for Joshua, but not the uppercut he likes to throw from the inside rather the uppercut thrown a bit more from the outside. Like Busted Douglas vs Tyson.

Ruiz on the other hand given the higher weight and likely the urgency to win and to win in spectacular fashion is looking to blast out Joshua. I think he’s looking for a stoppage around the 5th to 8th round. The keys to victory here will be the Jab and the body shots. The jab to distract Joshua while he moves in and then unleashes those wicked combinations to the body. Wearing and slowing Joshua down while he breaks him down.

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My prediction is that the added weight will not be a benefit for Ruiz and he will be weighed down quite literally by it. Joshua seems to be more focused than ever, focused on improving his worst quality which has always been he’s gas tank. By a shift in training methods and probably approach to the fight in general I see Joshua winning the fight by late stoppage, where he’s likely put down Ruiz a few times in the process.

But my prediction aside I’m looking forward to a great fight between to great fighters and may the best man win.

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