The Big Question: Joshua vs Ruiz Jr - who wins?

Boxing Monthly
31/05/2019 8:41pm

Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr meet in a heavyweight title clash this weekend at Madison Square Garden. Members of the BM team are here with their picks and predictions…

I don’t expect an upset here but Ruiz Jr might have some minor success in the early rounds as Joshua gets settled. With this fight coming at short notice Ruiz will likely come out swinging and have a proper go from the opening bell. But Joshua should then impose himself and finish the job around midway. Joshua by sixth-round TKO. - Lee Gormley

I am a fan of Ruiz and think he is a far greater challenge to AJ than Miller. Not that I feel it will make a difference to the outcome though. I feel the best Ruiz can hope for is for a points loss, while my prediction is a late Joshua stoppage sometime in rounds 10-12. - James Lupton

As much as I'd like Ruiz to threaten an upset, I simply can't see it. His fast hands are an asset against heavyweights with lesser ring IQ and a rigid, stuck in the mud, plodding style, but Joshua can move. The Briton picks his shots well and I envisage Ruiz unfolding around the midway point. He'll be game, full of enthusiasm and ultimately, Mexican, but I just don't think it's enough to topple the division's current King. Joshua KO7. - Craig Scott

I'd love to see Joshua pushed hard in a classic fight, but I don't see Ruiz being the man to do it. I think he's a better fighter than Miller in some respects. His physique also belies a skill set which in theory could give the man from Watford some issues early doors, but I think Joshua will want to make a statement and will score an early, and emphatic, knockout. - James Oddy

The heavyweight division has served up some excellent 'replacement' championship fights in recent decades when events have scuppered a scheduled match, the two most notable examples being Evander Holyfield’s seventh-round TKO of the late Smokin’ Bert Cooper in 1991 and Lennox Lewis’s final fight, the stirring sixth-round TKO of future champ Vitali Klitschko in 2003. Although I’m looking forward to unified WBA/ IBF/ WBO champ Joshua’s title defence against Ruiz, who replaces disgraced drug cheat Jarrell Miller, it isn’t uncertainty over the winner which holds my interest, as that will surely be the champion. I’m more curious to discover how well Joshua will adapt to his first professional match on US soil, how he will deal with the quick hands and toughness of Ruiz and whether he intends to match the statement rival champion Deontay Wilder made two weeks ago when wiping out Dominic Breazeale in one round on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. My pick is for Joshua to gradually get to grips with Ruiz’s surprising speed and cuteness to stop his challenger between rounds four and seven. - Chris Williamson

Everyone has a chance in heavyweight boxing...but that chance is diminished against AJ. I see Joshua stopping Ruiz between rounds three and six. Option B is the biggest upset since Douglas vs Tyson, with Ruiz knocking out AJ in 3, with betting odds north of 40-1... - Paul Zanon

Ruiz has been talked up on social media since the fight’s announcement but in all honesty, Joshua should win as he pleases here. AJ has been boxing more prudently since his scare against Klitschko (and granted, he had issues with his nose against Takam and Povetkin) but he doesn’t need to fight that way against Ruiz. I’m hoping we see the old Joshua on Saturday. Ruiz is an easy target and Joshua can hook with him and win spectacularly. He needs to. Joshua KO within two rounds. - Andrew Harrison

No surprises. Ruiz is a very capable fighter and an amiable guy - and, really, there’s little to split him and original B-side Jarrell Miller, who made his feelings known on whether he could beat Joshua as a clean athlete quite clear. He’ll be outgunned here, though. Ruiz is a technically sound boxer and perhaps most effective when allowed to chip away on the inside. The problem for him is that I don’t see Joshua allowing him to effectively close the range. Look for Joshua to make a statement here and make it an early night, with the referee forced to step in somewhere inside the first half. Joshua TKO4. - Tom Craze

If the durable Ruiz can get past the midway point of the fight, I suspect he'll make it tough for Joshua down the stretch. Unfortunately I can't quite see him doing enough to win. Give me Joshua on points, eight rounds to four. - Anthony Cocks

If you fed all the data into a computer, no question Joshua wins by (early) KO for all the obvious reasons. However, Ruiz is no mug, not only does he have fast hands he's got good footwork and lateral movement. I feel he can go the 12 comfortably. There's the MSG/fighting outside the UK factor too as mentioned by Chris. I can see this one going the distance with Joshua snatching a close, unconvincing win on the cards. - Luca Rosi

No matter the confident talk from Ruiz, no matter the fact he went the distance with Parker and pushed him close, and no matter the fact that he's on "home" turf... I just can't see anything other than Joshua connecting in about the fourth and ending proceedings to make the necessary statement on his US debut. - Colin Harris

Ruiz has very good, if not underrated, hand speed and offensive variety. But he simply does not have the size, power or work rate (particularly in the later rounds) to beat AJ. The titles will remain in the UK as Joshua scores a late TKO stoppage. - Michael Montero

Final tally: Joshua 12 Ruiz Jr 0