Jonathan Harris – RUIZ TKO – The clash of the Dunes, Joshua V Ruiz rematch, not many people thought this day would have come when the June 1st showdown was supposed to be a comfortable win for the superstar Anthony Joshua. I for one was not one of that majority, I threw my neck on the line and against all odds and chose the chubby Mexican to beat Joshua, with his fast hands and counter-punching style I knew it would be a clash of styles and kryptonite for Joshua’s stiff upper body movement and lack of being able to really slip shots, but not even I was ready for the total dismantle of the champion!.
Sadly there is nothing that has changed my mind since that day and there is very little that could alter my thoughts until fight night, except maybe Ruiz having an operation to take away one leg and one arm, in the conditions I could then vision a different outcome, that’s just a joke, honesty, don’t shoot.
But in all seriousness, there are a lot of factors that come into play when making a decision on picking a fighter, especially when Ruiz put on such a dominant performance in the first fight. As a man of the sport, I have to think neutral and realistically to get pros and cons from both Teams.
To state the obvious we all know that as a champion with dreams of unification and huge fights, Joshua hugely overlooked the task at hand, this may have taken away the vision and hunger from the fight he was just about to face against Ruiz, and didn’t really get him pumped enough during the lead up to the fight to thrive on fight night.
Now it could be a different kind of AJ in the rematch, losing his belts and champion status could have unshackled a beast inside the heart that we yet to witness in this rematch against Ruiz.
A loss does not define a fighter, especially in the heavyweight scene where almost all but one great were forced to face the daunting grade of taking a loss, it is most definitely how they bounce back that defines the meaning of a true champion. When we take a close look, it is not the actual show of skills between the fighters that makes this fight so exciting, it is the fact that the whole world is more anticipating the reaction from Joshua to see what he really holds inside the heart, that champion spirit that will cement his legacy.
The point has to be raised that it is quite possible from the former outcome that AJ may have left the ring that night with more than just a few bruises, it is very likely he left with doubts and questions that may not have been answered in such a short time before this rematch, I believe personally he will be doubtful of his own ability, and very carefully I put this across because it seems to be a sour apple, but even his own heart with the questions of him quitting that night instead of carrying on. If these doubts have not been bleached out with a new wave of confidence and self-belief then this could quite possibly be a dangerous fight to take so early without a tune-up fight in-between the rematch.
The man with a plan, the plan that was executed beautifully like a scooby doo movie, the big question is can what was thought to have been the impossible, be done again? Absolutely!
The skillset, speed, combinations and most importantly the ring IQ of Ruiz is something pretty special, the experience on fight night was beaming through the arena, and that will always be a monumental upper hand in this fight no matter how many times this fight happens.
One thing that worries me is that the opposite effect to AJ may come into play, boxing is just as much mental as physical as we know. Has the new sudden fame and glory taken Ruiz’s mind off the game for that split timing enough for him to take his foot off the pedal, as fans we know that it has often happened through the history of the sport and I really hope Ruiz will not be just a statistic. There is also a likelihood that everything Ruiz has always wanted from the tender age of 7 he now has, his goal has been achieved, has the combination of metal, leather and stitching that is the belts fed some of that hunger that was once burning in the core of the Mexican man!. I think Ruiz is a true fighting man and his current status will be his driving point to thrive in the sport, but we have to taste the possibilities of what we know that can be a reality.
The gamble for me was clasped previous to the first fight when I chose Andy Ruiz, I predicted Ruiz’s style would be Kryptonite for Joshua and I again draw all my heart to that decision, I predict this time to be slightly prolonged to the first but with a duplicate finish, my gut tells me AJ is going to come into the fight with tag and move tactics trying to implement those tactics for 12 rounds to get the decision, very similar to how he fought against Parker, but I feel Ruiz is too long in the tooth and experienced to not know how to deal with those state of affairs, I assume Ruiz’s camp will also be in preparation for that scenario, especially with the amazing speed and counter-punching i really struggle to visualise anything different than a Ruiz stoppage.
Boxing Fans are fickle though as we know, and are already under the assumption that if Anthony loses this rematch he is done, I completely disagree with these kinds of statements, the truth is styles make fights, and Unless Joshua can completely adapt a new style within such a short amount of time like the greats of the past, then there will be a repeat of June the 1st.
Best of luck to both fighters, and may both leave in full health.
Paul J Daley – RUIZ TKO 7 – Hand on Heart who could honestly say that they predicted the changing of the guard that occurred on June 1st? I know I didn’t, although that’s not to say I didn’t give Ruiz the respect that he so rightly deserved coming into the fight, unlike a large contingent of fight fans with most judgements made on appearance alone and to that point I would readily agree if this was a bodybuilding competition but unfortunately for Anthony Joshua muscles don’t necessarily win title fights.
Under the ‘flabby’ exterior of Ruiz beats a Mexican heart primed for battle, that mixed with an abundance of amateur experience gives us a far reaching evaluation of the danger he possesses.
Rumours were rife of Joshua being knocked out in sparring, still suffering the effects of a concussion or even suggestion of overlooking the challenge of Ruiz quickly became the fall out from the fight as reasoning to the loss which was unjust, the truth of the matter, in reality, was that Ruiz was the better boxer on the night, not only that but far exceeded the expectations of all.
So we go again with a slightly different outlook, the reflection of which can be seen from the predictions that fill this very page. This time Joshua will know the tornado that will break across the sands of the dunes but can he this time seek refuge behind his skillset?
Joshua holds obvious advantages in size in regards to height aswell as reach which will need to be exercised should he leave the bout once more a champion. If he can fight disciplined for the entirety of the contest in a similar fashion that he did against Joseph Parker, the act could potentially frustrate Ruiz enough to allow mistakes to enter the realms of possibility.
My concern with the now former world champion is that when faced with a fighter smaller in height that himself he does tend to stoop low thus giving away his advantage. I always thought this to be a quizzical trait knowing as we do the success the Lennox Lewis and the Klitschko brothers, for example, had with the upright style, using the jab to gain distance.
Ruiz isn’t particularly blessed with the quickness of foot either so to employ a long jab would be beneficial to the Londoner in regaining his titles.
That being said, I have more doubts hanging over the challenger than I do for the champion.
Ruiz likes to take control of the centre of the ring as most Mexican’s do, manoeuvring his man into traps where he can rattle off the combinations, at some point one of those hooks are going to land, leaving Joshua who’s notoriously fragile whiskers it has to be said leave a lot to be admired and will ultimately betray him, stiffen his legs to the point another shot will put him over in or around the seventh round.
Craig Morgan – RUIZ TKO – Without doubt, this is the biggest rematch of the decade, both financially & in terms of the future of the heavyweight division. In the unlikely destination of Saudi Arabia, with many observers doubting that it goes ahead. Credit to the organisers for putting up the funds for the fight & having the infastrcute to build a new stadium in the short timeframe that they had.
Ruiz shocked the entire world when defroning AJ back in June, which is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the heavyweight division. He was able to take his punches & come back with heavy shots of his own.
AJ will be more cautious in this fight & attempt to keep Ruiz at the end of his shots, trying to eck out a points win, similar to hiw he fought in his fight against Joseph Parker. If he’s able to do this, he could score a points win.
In the opposite corner, he has a man with massive amateur experience & is used to boxing taller men, who is able to take a good shout & fights well on the inside.
I don’t believe that AJ has recovered mentally from the first fight & the frailties that he displayed will still be there.
I see Ruiz fighting a similar way to the first fight & will once again stop/KO AJ in a similar timeframe.
Wilson M Scott – RUIZ KO – I see almost the same fight happening again, maybe quicker. Ruiz is no mug, truly a sleeping giant. He has way too many years in the game on Aj And a guy with that boxing mind will know how to get the job done again and easier. His hands are too fast for Aj and the big guy’s guard or lack of parrying will break him down again. Ruiz Ko on the inside before the 5th rd
Slaven Ajanovic – RUIZ TKO – I think AJ will come with a different strategy this time coz now he knows it’s too risky to just go in there and try to get Ruiz out as fast as possible. So, he will box more and try to land with his counters while Ruiz will fight pretty much the same as last, I expect, he’ll be the main aggressor… I expect it to last longer anyway but Ruiz is most likely to come out on top because his fast combos are just hard to get away from…Ruiz by TKO or corner retirement in round 8/9
Ricardo Casineyra – RUIZ DECISION – Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua will be a very exciting fight, Joshua will come with a different strategy, he will be cautious to Ruiz’s power shots because he knows that an oversight can lead to the path of the KO, as in the first fight the two opponents will be dropped, Ruiz will close the rounds strongly and even if he enters more into the crash zone he will be forced to back off ,as Mexican I have a great desire that Andy Ruiz wins but I will not underestimate the Anthony Joshua boxing so this time I will have a reserved prediction.
Chris Glover – RUIZ TKO – Repeat, mentally Ruiz has the edge. Being a fighter I understand the mentality of believing in your chin and I think Ruiz will get to AJ again and stop him
Craig Valentine – JOSHUA KO – Josh is getting rid of this guy before the final bell. he’s got that killer mentality back, come on Joshua
Jamie Bourne – RUIZ TKO/KO 9 – We are just one day away from one of the most eagerly anticipated heavyweight clashes of the past decade. It all went wrong for Anthony Joshua on his American debut back in June, when Andy Ruiz Jr flipped the boxing world on its head by becoming Mexico’s first heavyweight champion. Tomorrow night, AJ has the opportunity to set the record straight and take back his belts.
As a British fight fan, I would like to see Joshua regain his belts and become a two-time unified champion. Also to prevent the PBC from having control of all the heavyweight marbles. That being said, I have gained a huge amount of respect for Andy Ruiz Jr and would be more than happy to see him win.
After months of going back-and-forth on my prediction, making detailed cases for both men, I have finally concluded that Ruiz will make it repeat rather than revenge in Saudi Arabia, to remain the unified heavyweight champion of the world. Let me explain why.
Joshua has clearly trained immensely hard for this fight and looks far better for shifting some of the excessive muscle he was carrying previously. This gives the impression that he’ll be looking to outbox Ruiz on the back-foot like he did Joseph Parker, which is why he has got himself into shape in order to maintain a higher pace and be lighter on his feet.
Obviously, I know very little compared to Rob McCracken, but I’m just not convinced they are the correct tactics to beat someone with Ruiz style. Parker got into the right positions against AJ but was very negative with his output. Plus the referee didn’t do the greatest job of managing the pair when they got up close. To beat someone with the style of Ruiz, I feel you have to stand your ground and gain his respect, by controlling the centre of the ring and boxing behind the jab.
Last time, one of the pivotal mistakes AJ made was that he stepped forward into Ruiz’ punching range after throwing the jab. This allowed the Mexican to counter with heavy shots over the top. To use the jab effectively, AJ has to jab with authority but take subtle steps backwards or sidewards to make Ruiz miss. He also became too predictable in their first meeting, so needs to vary the jab from the body to head, whilst throwing the occasional feints and pivoting to create new angles.
In my opinion, he also needs to utilise his size advantages to greater effect. Wladimir Klitschko made a career of jabbing then manhandling smaller fighters whenever they attempted to get on the inside. Was it boring? Very! But was it successful and incredibly effective for the best part of a decade? Yes. I feel Joshua needs to command the middle of the ring, restricting Ruiz to box on the back-foot where he isn’t comfortable, then wrap him up when he attempts to get up close or on the inside.
However, this doesn’t seem like the game-plan that his team have implemented, which is why I feel Ruiz will be victorious. By allowing someone like Ruiz the time and space to walk you down, he catches your shots on the top of the arm, then waits for the correct moment to counter over the top. If the opportunity isn’t there to unload, he’ll target the body with hard, straight shots that suck the wind out of you and have a cumulative effect.
Moving onto the fight itself, I see the opening three/four rounds going all Joshua’s way. He will dominate and box with a real sense of urgency; unlike the first fight where he looked far too relaxed. He’ll look to stay out of harm’s way, boxing behind the jab and then landing heavy shots when Ruiz looks to move in. He will be forced to concentrate extensively during the first half of the fight, which I think will use a lot of energy and the negative effects of this will become evident heading into the second half of the fight.
Joshua will slowly start to tire, meaning his feet are no longer as quick and his punches are thrown with less spite. Ruiz will gradually begin to close the distance and deliver single shots to AJ’s mid-section. That’s when the opportunity to land a counter over the top will arrive and once Ruiz lands with one big blow, he will be relentless in his pursuit of the stoppage. I have a feeling that if Joshua is rocked badly, he will revert to his fighting instincts and try to fire back, which could be his downfall. I don’t expect Ruiz to be able to hurt or as disorientate Joshua like he did in the first fight but will be unable to deter Ruiz, forcing the referee to jump in and save him.
I could be completely wrong and I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua manages to stop Ruiz during those first five or six rounds where he is in cruise control. I just feel Ruiz will be tough enough to deal with the power early doors, then his experience and intelligence will begin to shine through, as he adapts and breaks down the challenger.
Dean Berks – JOSHUA DECISION – What makes this rematch different from many upsets was that the substitute was not only a better fighter than the first choice, he would also have beaten him handily too. And in this image-obsessed social media generation, Ruiz was judged solely on his physique by so many whom had never heard of or seen 80’s champions Tony Tubbs, Greg Page and, at times, Tim Witherspoon, and not on his ability and experience.
Muscles don’t win fights. That difference in experience proved vital in moments of crisis. I have always maintained that Joshua, like so many of today’s fighters, was moved too fast. He should have had ten rounders abroad before becoming champion to fully understand the environment that is so vastly different from the amateur game. This learning curb is essential for any aspiring boxer, learn your trade, do not rush.
Nevertheless, harsh lessons have been learned. No longer focusing on the “AJ” brand, he has locked himself away and worked diligently on his skill set, with his physique no longer taking on the look of a bodybuilder, but a boxer. This approach was missing dearly from the first fight. But will it be enough to reverse the result? Ruiz, unlike one punch winners Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman, proved what a competent fighter he is, beating Joshua to the punch and breaking him down with the traditional Mexican body assault. He knows he wasn’t just a lucky winner, but someone who deserves to be where he is. That psychology alone makes a huge difference. Quick with a stinging right hand, and a battle-hardened experience that can’t be taught makes him a handful for anyone in the division. He is coming with the belief that his time is now and that he will prove this by dismantling Joshua again. The pressure is now on the Briton to prove that wasn’t the real him that night in Vegas and that he can indeed turn the tables and reclaim the titles.
I find myself leaning towards Joshua. I think he realises that he started to believe his own hype and took his eye off the ball. He has made the appropriate adjustments and knuckled down, proof of his attitude and determination. I think he will have to utilise his advantages, and also survive some tough moments late on, but I think he can gain his revenge on points.
Daniel T Foley – RUIZ TKO – The biggest fight of Anthony Joshua’s life takes place on Saturday night as he looks to erase the memories from June 1st where he suffered a crushing defeat to Andy Ruiz. Will Joshua be able to bounce back from the 1st loss of his professional career or will Ruiz show the world once again that he’s the real deal and should not be taken lightly as one of the best heavyweights in the world.
I must admit I was quite surprised when the announcement was made for the immediate rematch between these two fighters, after the manner of the loss I thought it may have been wiser to have a warm-up fight or 2 for Joshua to rebuild his confidence, but credit to him he wanted to get straight back in there to try and avenge his only loss. I have a feeling a lot of people will be looking at this fight a lot more evenly than they did the initial match-up between the two, I’ll admit myself that I underestimated Ruiz. I knew he was talented but he really showed his class against Joshua in June. Despite getting rocked in the 3rd round by a big hook from AJ, Ruiz showed his toughness and tenacity to get back up and then go on to rock Joshua. Ruiz’s speed and combinations were a big difference in the fight and he made them count over and over again by stepping into the pocket and unloading before Joshua could even react. Joshua seemed to be looking to land the big shot and when he failed to find it again after the 3rd his confidence seemed to crumble and by the time the stoppage came it really did appear as though he wanted out of there.
The question in this fight will be where is Joshua’s head at now? Is he fully motivated and taking Ruiz seriously which he admitted to not doing the first time around. Or does he still believe that he’s the better fighter and victory should be a given? Which as a recent quote suggests he may well believe as he stated he got ‘caught with a lucky punch straight from the gods’…If he has taken this fight seriously then he definitely can hurt Ruiz as evidenced in the first fight he just needs to be more cerebral when it comes to finishing the fight and not getting too trigger happy. However despite his power Joshua was exposed for his stiffness at times in the fight and did look rather robotic, it was also worrying that he didn’t use his superior size and jab more effectively. For Ruiz I believe it’ll be interesting to see how much he’s changed from the first fight with a full trainig camp behind him.It definitely seems as though he’s just as hungry as ever regarding retaining his titles and eager to prove the first fight was no fluke, will the changes made in camp have a positive effect come fight night or has his head been turned slightly by the fame & limelight? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, going off the first performance and the fact Ruiz will now have a full fight camp behind him I fully expect him to show the world that he is the real deal. His head movement, combinations and speed are just too much for Joshua to overcome, add in superior conditioning and he’s going to be a real handful and barring a lucky punch which can certainly happen at this weight, I just personally think Ruiz has Joshua’s number.
Richard Lewis – JOSHUA TKO – Anthony Joshua will be more wary of Ruiz’s power this time and not want to trade blow for blow with him, with Ruiz’s hand speed the superior of the two. He’ll need to box clever and keep away and use his speed and agility to get in and out and cause Ruiz to chase him and wear the champ down.
Ruiz to his credit though looks a lot fitter and in better shape than he did for their first fight and could well catch Joshua on the way in with a big punch like he did last time, and he does have the power to stop him again. We’ve seen in the past, and it’s been highlighted that it’s happened several times when he was an amateur, that if Joshua is caught clean he does often get put down and his powers of recovery are maybe not the greatest with Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker rocking him with him big punches and Wladimir Klitschko having him all but out for the count in their epic battle some two and a half years ago.
I do think the first fight was the wake-up call that Joshua may be needed though especially after he initially dropped Ruiz, and he knows that he’ll have to rely on a lot more than just his power to get his opponent out of there. He definitely underestimated and looked past Ruiz last time who was a late replacement for the suspended drug cheat Jarrell Miller, and certainly won’t do that this time with Ruiz the defending champion and favourite going into the fight. It’s a tough one to call this rematch, part of me feels that Andy Ruiz is all wrong for Anthony Joshua and his hand speed will yet again trouble the Brit and we will see a repeat of their first fight six months ago but Joshua will be a man on a mission and could prove the doubters wrong and show that he is a worthy world champion and avenge the defeat in devastating fashion. If I was pushed for a prediction I’ll go for Joshua to win by TKO in or around the 7th or 8th round, but certainly would not be too surprised or disappointed if the man from Mexico wins again. Roll on Saturday night.
Lee Thorton – JOSHUA DECISION – The first battle between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz was an instant classic. Being live at that fight I will never forget the shock on fans faces when Joshua lost. The rematch for me is very tough to call Ruiz has the style to always give Joshua problems with his speed and combination punching. However many people forgot Joshua was preparing a completely different style of opponent initially for this fight I expect a much sharper Anthony Joshua.
I believe Joshua will use his jab more and defensively that his team will implement some better strategies defensively. I think Joshua wins a unanimous decision in this fight I believe he learned greatly from his initial defeat to Ruiz.
Steve Haigh – RUIZ JR TKO/KO – So it appears that we go into the rematch with a slimmed-down version of Anthony Joshua. His gas tank and stamina have been questioned for some time but I personally am not buying into it so much. We’ve seen him go near championship distance against Wladimir Klitschko and overcome adverse conditions to win. Yes, he was gassed but he recovered.
Problem with the first fight at Madison SG was that Joshua.
A – Was not mentally ready
B – He came apart and later quit after his equilibrium betrayed him
C – A combination of the two.
This fight goes either one of two ways in my opinion. If Joshua keeps it long and simple at range using the basic fundamentals, doubles up the jab and uses straight right hands he wins it. It really doesn’t need to be complicated but depending on how cautious and disciplined he fights Ruiz depends on the outcome and method but If he allows Ruiz to close distance and make it a fight at close quarters then I feel he will most definitely become victim as in the first fight.
Joshua has previously proven he can perform in front of a colossal audience and under huge pressure but that’s in his comfort zone and here we are again in alien territory.
I feel at some stage that Ruiz will gain an inside advantage after losing maybe the first third of even half of the fight and make use of his hand speed at close range. If Joshua cannot spoil and hold then it could well be a case of Deja Vu
Difficult to predict when we don’t know exactly how mentally ready or prepared AJ is if and when he gets hurt but I do think it will happen at some stage. But if pushed I fancy Andy Ruiz to make it a double in the 9th round.
Ciaran Gibbons – JOSHUA DECISION – I don’t think it’s possible for AJ to fight such a poor fight again especially now he knows what he is facing. I expect Joshua to box more and try and hold the centre of the ring which he gave away in the first fight. Ruiz, of course, will be better prepared as well & he will be fearless once again. More of the same from Ruiz with a bit more output. It’s 50/50 but if I have to pick a winner I would slightly edge towards AJ on points.