After much searching, Anthony Joshua has a sparring partner that can replicate the fighting style of Andy Ruiz Jr. to help prepare for the December 7 rematch in Saudi Arabia. They found a duplicate of Ruiz, who is putting Joshua through his paces during camp.
Joshua’s poor engine was as much of the problem in his loss last June as it was fighting style of Ruiz. Joshua was carrying around too much extra muscle weight for him to deal with the hand speed and combination punching ability of Ruiz.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn says they found a guy that has the right style that can help prepare former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) for what he’s going to be dealing with in facing Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) in eight weeks from now. Hearn isn’t saying who the sparring partner is that’s helping Joshua, but it’s got to be someone like Joey Dawejko. This is the guy that Joshua was rumored to have been hurt by in training for his first fight against Ruiz.
Hearn says they couldn’t get a sparring partner to adequately prepare Joshua for his first fight with Ruiz Jr. on June 1, and that led to him getting stopped in the 7th round at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Joshua has already been training 4 weeks
“It’s madness. There’s eight weeks to go, and he’s been in camp for four week already,” said Hearn to Fino Boxing about Joshua’s progress in training camp for his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. “A lot of early sparring now in replicating the style of Ruiz.
“Last time we had probably three weeks of sparring, and it was tough to find a guy like Ruiz, because there aren’t many like him. Small, a little bit chubby, fast hands, and really good on the inside. Now we’ve replicated that, and I feel like the preparation is going to be great. Andy Ruiz is in camp.
Joshua was supposed to defend against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on June 1, but the New Yorker tested positive for several banned substances. He subsequently wasn’t licensed to fight Joshua. Hearn quickly found Ruiz to replace Miller, and it was believed that Joshua would be able to prepare for his style in the remaining three weeks of training camp. That turned out to be a mistake on Hearn and Joshua’s part in selecting the much shorter 6’2″ Ruiz on short notice.
Hearn confident Joshua will beat Ruiz
“The weeks are going slowly. I want it to hurry up, and I don’t want it to hurry up, because I know I’m going to be a bag of nerves in that fight,” said Hearn about his anticipation of watching the Joshua-Ruiz 2 rematch on December 7th.
“I think the whole world will be watching. It’s such a huge fight. It’s the fight of the year, and it’s a brilliant heavyweight fight. I believe my man [Joshua] is going to do it,” said Hearn.
If Ruiz does a repeat number in stopping Joshua in the rematch, then Hearn will need to figure out what he can do with him. It would be pointless for Hearn to match Joshua with Ruiz for a third time if he loses the rematch. Joshua is too big to move down in weight, and he probably won’t be happy fighting for trinket titles.