Anthony Joshua Huge Favorite vs Andy Ruiz in US Boxing Debut
Anthony Joshua will make his American debut against Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1. Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, was left without a dance partner after original opponent Jarrell Miller reportedly failed three drug tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
The 30-year-old from Brooklyn was subsequently denied a license to compete by the New York State Athletic Commission.
Into the void left by Miller now steps Ruiz, a fast-handed American contender who suffered the only loss of his career via majority decision back in 2016 to then WBO titleholder Joseph Parker. It was a very close and competitive fight that could have gone either way, proving Ruiz is probably at least a deserved contender.
But Parker is nowhere near as good a fighter as Joshua. In fact, Joshua lifted Parker’s title belt with relative ease just three fight later.
According to the best boxing bookmakers, Joshua is a huge favorite over Ruiz, where the best odds can be had over at Ladbrokes at -2000 (1/20). On the other hand, bettors looking to back Ruiz on the early betting market will do so with odds as long as +1000 at places such as FanDuel with he hopes he’ll spoil the party and hand Joshua the first loss of his professional career.
Why Ruiz Makes Sense
While Ruiz (32-1, 21 knockouts) is a solid last-minute replacement, the 29-year-old American isn’t considered among the top-10 heavyweights in the world by The Ring magazine or the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
By comparison, Joshua is the consensus No. 1. Part of the equation is that the division is just incredibly deep at the present. But another piece to the puzzle is that people just don’t seem to believe Ruiz has what it takes to be a serious contender.
It might just be happenstance. Perhaps if Ruiz had a different body type or shed a few more pounds for his fights, he’d be given more credit for being the solid fighter he is. Ruiz in an incredibly gifted athlete with fast hands, and he’s adept at pressuring his opponents with some seriously solid craft.
That he ends up as Joshua’s opponent might even prove to be better for the promotion overall in that he might ultimately prove a tougher opponent than would Miller.
Bigger Names Were Busy or Declined
Truthfully, there was little from which to choose. Promoter Eddie Hearn targeted others who were busy with other fights or simply declined. Most significantly, former heavyweight title challenger Luis Ortiz said no to the fight, and there was no hope of even trying to lure WBC champion Deontay Wilder or former unified champion Tyson Fury this late in the game anyway.
In the end, it was either Ruiz or once-beaten American contender Michael Hunter. Ultimately, it makes sense Joshua’s team would choose Ruiz because Hunter’s style is so different and probably much harder to prepare for on one-month’s notice.
Joshua Becoming Global Boxing Icon
Joshua is a huge star in the United Kingdom but has yet to fully make his way into the hearts and minds of the American sports audience. The 29-year-old has everything going for him to change that real soon. Joshua has the ability, skill set and credentials to become a global sporting sensation.
Moreover, he’s as adept on the mic in front of a camera as he is handing out concussions in the boxing ring. That’s pretty rare.
While fight fans might yearn to see Joshua in the ring with Wilder and Fury, his promoter Eddie Hearn is doing the right thing in the meantime by keeping his fighter active in the pursuit of becoming the most-watched heavyweight fighter in the world. Joshua already has three of the four major world title belts, and he remains is in line to become this generation’s top heavyweight.
Early Betting Tips for Joshua-Ruiz
Will Joshua be distracted by the famed Madison Square Garden in New York? If that’s the betting angle with which you hope to score big, look elsewhere. Joshua is already a huge superstar in the UK, so he’s competed on huge stages against much more accomplished fighters than Ruiz, and he’s done it in front of many more people than will be in New York on June 1.
So, any angle used by fans of boxing betting fans on Joshua-Ruiz should be based on the matchup alone. Ruiz is gifted and fast-handed. He should be able to test Joshua early in the fight and make things fun for the crowd.
But Joshua is just too good at landing hard counterpunches for Ruiz to stand much more than a puncher’s chance. Backing Joshua at -2000 (1/20) on the early betting market is the only way to go. It might not bring much in terms of return, but there’s simply no other way to look at the fight right now.
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