Deontay Wilder vs. Andy Ruiz Jr was ordered today by the WBC at their convention for a final eliminator to determine the next mandatory challenger to champion Tyson Fury.
Wilder, 37, has already fought WBC heavyweight champion Fury three times, losing two of them, and the boxing public won’t be excited at seeing the fourth one unless ‘The Bronze Bomber’ looks sensational against Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs).
This is a pick ’em fight between two former heavyweight champions. Former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) looked great in his last fight against Robert Helenius on October 15th in knocking out his old sparring partner in the first round.
The slimmed-down Wilder looked unrecognizable with his fighting style against Helenius, using movement, and throwing only four punches in the entire one-round fight.
It’s questionable whether Wilder will have success fighting like that against Ruiz because he will have to throw a lot more punches than that to keep the former unified champion off of him. Joseph Parker created the blueprint for defeating Ruiz by using a jab and staying on the move.
Anthony Joshua followed that blueprint perfectly in his rematch with Ruiz in December 2019, beating him easily. Unfortunately, Wilder doesn’t have much of a jab, and it’s doubtful that he’s got the leg strength to stay on the move for 12 rounds against Ruiz if he’s forced to go the distance.
We saw how Wilder gassed out after three rounds against Fury last year, and it’s possible that he could fade against Ruiz if he’s unable to knock him out early as he did with Helenius.
With Fury, it’s difficult to know whether he’ll still be in the game for the fourth fight with Wilder because he’s got a fight against Derek Chisora on December 3rd and then an undisputed match against IBF, WBA & WBO champion Oleksander Usyk for early 2023. Fury might retire again.
If Fury retires, that clears the way for Wilder to regain his WBC title if he gets past Ruiz. That would be the ideal situation for Wilder because Fury has his number and would likely beat him again if they wind up facing each other for the fourth time.
If Usyk beats Fury, that will give Wilder his best chance of regaining his WBC title because he would have a huge size advantage over him, making it a winnable fight.