Though it’s too early to say for absolutely certain, it really is looking as though Anthony Joshua’s replacement challenger on June 1 will be Mexican/American Andy Ruiz Jr. Various reports from a number of sources say AJ promoter Eddie Hearn, who is currently out in Los Angeles, has had successful talks with Ruiz and his people; while Ruiz himself has said he expects to get the fight.
In some ways this potential/likely match-up is a better one than Joshua-Jarrell Miller was. As has been pointed out, by Hearn and other people, Ruiz is faster than Big Baby, his handspeed recognised as the swiftest the heavyweight division has to offer today. Also, Ruiz has more big fight experience than Miller – having fought in New Zealand, and for a version of the world title; Ruiz having also beaten better quality of opposition than the drug cheating New Yorker.
Beaten only by Joseph Parker in a close decision fight that Ruiz really should have won had he not stopped pumping out punches, “The Destroyer just might give Joshua some real problems. The criticism aimed at Ruiz has of course entered on his physique. Less than toned, fleshy even, Ruiz has nevertheless proved time and again that he really can fight.
Ruiz has downed a number of fighters who possessed far more aesthetically pleasing bodies, and a critic should perhaps ask them – Joe Hanks, Tor Hamer and, last time out just this past Saturday night, Alexander Dimitrenko and others if Ruiz can fight or not. Perhaps it has worked to Ruiz’ advantage if and when a rival has judged him solely by his lack of a six-pack – and maybe Joshua will fall into the same trap. This seems unlikely though, seeing how Joshua, who is of course a body beautiful athlete, is also a consummate pro.
Again, we have to wait for the official announcement, but it is looking good for Andy Ruiz. Now, if he does get the fight – easily the biggest and single most important of his entire career – it will be up to Ruiz to make the absolute most of it and give us fans a great fight at the same time.
We know what we can expect from Joshua, we need to see Ruiz match the effort, dedication and sheer will to win the champ will be displaying in New York on June 1st. But imagine what a story it really would be if Ruiz – until last Saturday perhaps nothing more than a second thought in today’s heavyweight division – managed to pull off the big upset!