How The Rise of Andy Ruiz Jr Has Hit Heavyweight Boxing Odds

How The Rise of Andy Ruiz Jr Has Hit Heavyweight Boxing Odds

There is a new household name in American boxing. And it isn’t Anthony Joshua.

Instead, it’s a self-confessed ‘Little Fat Boy’ called Andy Ruiz Junior who is doing the late-night US chat shows, getting the calls from the sponsors and receiving the hero’s welcome in his California hometown after his stunning take-over of heavyweight boxing.

That is the frenetic, outlaw territory of sport where it pays to expect the unexpected.

It’s just that nobody but Ruiz himself gave even a passing thought to the idea that he would knock out Joshua and in one dramatic night at Madison Square Garden last Saturday, over-turn the whole division and a whole lot more carefully-laid plans, schemes and marketing schedules.

Ruiz Jr, 29, is still not the bookmakers’ favourite to win the re-match which is planned for November or December, probably in the UK but perhaps in Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

But he certainly shook up the world and the way the smart money views the heavyweight game – with Joshua now down-graded as the underdog should he recover from this calamity and eventually take on his most celebrated rivals, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.

He had been favoured to beat them both should the tangle of boxing politics ever have been un-ravelled enough for those dates to happen. Now, quite understandably, he is third in the bookies’ pecking order.

London’s Joshua, also 29, went to fight in America for the first time proudly bearing the WBA, IBF and WBO title belts along with the big, relaxed grin and the chiselled torso which were going to make him a star in the USA.

He ended up being floored four times, rendered dazed and incoherent and being stopped in the seventh round at the fabled Mecca of his sport.

It made Ruiz the first Mexican heavyweight champion in history – although he is US-born – after one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

Joshua vs Ruiz Jr II Odds

Naturally enough, it has led to a seismic shift in the way the odds-makers view the ungainly, pudgy but dangerous new champion.

Ruiz junior was a 25/1 underdog before the first bell rang against Joshua. Now he is rated at 5/2 to win for a second time this Autumn or Winter.

Meanwhile, the British fighter is seen as at 1/3 to win the re-match – having been a massively one-sided 1/33 before Ruiz Jr got to work and ended his unbeaten record.

That is the best value offer on a Joshua victory there has been since before his epic defeat of Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. But there may yet be more fall-out and revelations to come from the shock defeat in New York.

It may pay to wait.

Joshua had a clause inserted in the contract ensuring he would get a second chance if he was defeated.

His promoter, Eddie Hearn, insists it’s watertight even though some US analysts raised the idea that Ruiz Jr and WBC champion Wilder could meet next because they are both members of the same promotional stable, the Premier Boxing Champions outfit run by the reclusive but powerful string-puller Al Haymon.

As it stands, Joshua will seek to re-claim his belts in order to resurrect the long-mooted but troubled plan to meet undefeated American Wilder, 33, in a title unification clash.

Before Saturday’s explosion, Wilder was a 13/8 underdog back in April with Paddy Power to beat Joshua. Now he is 8/11 favourite.

There had already been a slight shift in Wilder’s favour after his sensational one-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale in New York on May 18, with Paddy Power moving him in to 5/4 to defeat Joshua.

Now he is also favoured to beat Joshua by Paddy Power at 8/11 while the Englishman has moved out to evens (1/1).

Joshua vs Fury Odds Revised Too

It is the same story regarding any potential match with Joshua’s fellow Briton and former WBA and IBF champion Fury, who remains unbeaten after his draw with Wilder in Los Angeles last December.

Fury – who fights Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas on June 15 – has moved in to 8/15 with Betfair to win a potential clash with Joshua.

Other major bookmakers have slashed Fury in from 6/5 in April to 8/11 current favourite, forcing Joshua out to around 6/4 across the board.

Wilder and Fury, the two top dogs in the division if the bookmakers’ odds are anything to go by, say they are headed for a second meeting early next year.

Meanwhile, there have been question marks about Joshua’s preparation for the Ruiz junior fight – and his state of mind on the night in New York.

Put that right and he can clearly come again. Even the great Lennox Lewis had to come back to avenge shock defeats by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman.

But Joshua has even been shifted slightly outwards by the bookies when assessing any potential clash with the four-belt world cruiserweight champion Alexsandr Uzyk, who is stepping up to heavyweight.

Traders have upgraded Uzyk to 6/4 while shifting Joshua out to 1/2 should they meet.

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