Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua II: AJ’s keys to victory


On Saturday night, all eyes are on Saudi Arabia as Anthony Joshua aims to inflict revenge on Andy Ruiz Jr.

If Joshua is to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight straps, he will need to write the wrongs of that now infamous New York nightmare on June 1.

Use size advantage

In AJ’s last two fights, who were against the smaller heavyweights of the division,  he bizarrely opted to widen his stance in an attempt to be at the same height level of his opponent. Alexander Povetkin and Ruiz – both 6ft 2 – had no problem finding their range and roughing up Joshua on the inside.

Standing at 6ft 6, the Brit needs to utilise his four-inch height advantage and keep Ruiz out of range, unable to land his fast combinations to head and body. It may require Joshua to employ similar tactics to what he used in the Joseph Parker fight, where he kept the smaller man out of range and out of distance.

Use the jab

Image result for joshua jab

Photo: Esther Lin/Showtime

The old adage ‘the right hand can take you around the block but the jab will take you around the world’ could not be more appropriate.

Like his great mentor Wladimir Klitschko was renowned for, Joshua needs to snap his jab out with real authority from the get-go. Possessing a eight inch reach advantage, one of his many physical attributes, AJ has to use that size asset by popping out the jab constantly.

Andy Ruiz is a front-foot counter puncher and can be prone to walking onto straight shots. Joshua must damage the face of Ruiz, hindering his spirit and vision each round. If the Watford man can get the jab working, then he’ll be able to dictate the tempo and systematically break the Mexican-American down.

Stay composed

The third round at the Madison Square Garden will go down as one of the most dramatic rounds of all time. The moment where everything went wrong. After flooring Ruiz Jr, Joshua rushed in and got caught by a flush left hook, high on the temple.

No matter how hurt Ruiz could be, Joshua needs to take his time and be composed under the bright lights of Saudi Arabia. Eventually, the opportunity will come where AJ can close the show.

Similarly if the fight is boring, the Olympic Gold medallist needs to remain concentrated and not worry about how entertaining it is. Stay disciplined and secure the win, whether it is a knock-out or points.

Maintain stamina

112kg, still has a 6 pack.

Photo: AFP

A common theme in previous fights is when Joshua gets hit and hurt, the gas tank suddenly becomes empty. Joshua needs to be relaxed from round one and ensure his muscular physique doesn’t fill up with lactic acid.

It’s highly likely that he will need to break Ruiz down first in order to knock the champion out in the middle to late rounds. Joshua will need to pace himself if he is to avoid a repeat of the Klitschko fight, where he emptied all his reserves in the fifth round.

But the well-documented weight loss for the upcoming rematch will certainly help AJ’s cardio issues.

Mentally ready

Image result for getty images joshua sticking tongue out

Photo: Getty Images

Perhaps the biggest necessity for Anthony Joshua. Are the demons of the night he surrendered his unbeaten record still looming large? Is he fully over the defeat? The fight on Saturday will reveal all.

AJ has to be mentally ready and be prepared to go through whatever it takes to regain those belts and become a two-time heavyweight champion. On December 7 he needs to put all those mental scars (if there are any) to the back of his mind and be 100 per cent confident in turning the tables.

The raw, ruthless, cold-blooded killer needs to return. In recent years there is an argument that Joshua has become too soft, too nice.

While outside the ring, the heavyweight giant appears a humble individual, do not forget this is the same man who used to snarl and stick his tongue out at opponents after hurting them.

Are we going to see that man comeback or have the pot of riches permanently softened him?

December 7, we find out.


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

Comments are closed.