Joseph Parker has his say on Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr

  • Tom Kelly

With Anthony Joshua’s bout against Andy Ruiz Jr just days away, heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker has weighed in with his opinion on the upcoming fight. 

Parker is the only heavyweight boxer who has previously fought both Joshua and Ruiz Jr, however, the Kiwi fighter believes that Ruiz Jr can be somewhat of a surprise act at Madison Square Garden. 

“I wasn’t surprised at how Andy Ruiz performed against me,” Parker told The Ring.

“We’d sparred in Vegas and I told everyone, ‘Don’t think he’s a slob because of how he looks.’ I knew he could put the pressure on and I knew he had heart. His ability might surprise the public and some of the fans who don’t really know who he is.

“In the fight we had, he started a lot faster than I did. When he does attack, he throws a lot of combinations. He has very fast hands and he likes to mix it up; he throws to the head, he throws to the body and he put the pressure on throughout the fight.

“The pressure was just more intense in the first half and towards the middle, I picked it up. I was able to work my combinations, get the better of him and he faded a bit.”

Parker defeated Andy Ruiz Jr by majority decision in December 2016, claiming the then-vacant WBO heavyweight belt. This loss remains as Ruiz Jr’s only defeat as a professional boxer, but Parker still believes that he would need to produce something special to overcome the current heavyweight champion of the world.

Reflecting on their fight, Parker said: “The thing I like about Joshua is that he seemed to change his style and adapt to what I was doing. He controlled the distance very good and I didn’t expect that from him.

“If you watch his previous fights, he was going in for the kill and knocking people out. My plan was to avoid that and counter, but he can adjust in a fight and that’s impressive.

“With my movement allowing me to avoid the big punches, he never really troubled me (with his power). If he’d caught me with one, it would probably have been a different story, but I’m thankful that my movement helped me.”

Taking on the former world champion provided a real test for AJ, with this fight in Cardiff being the first that the British boxer had to compete for the duration of 12 rounds.

On the fight itself this weekend, Parker is adamant that there will only be one winner, and that is Joshua.

“Andy Ruiz is gonna come out strong, he’s got nothing to lose,” stated Parker.

“He’s gonna come out and throw hands and he’ll take a punch to give a punch; that’s his style. He’s gonna be in the firing zone, and he’ll get caught a lot more than I did.

“The thing is, if it was a little hard for Andy to get to me and I’m 6-foot-4, we have to remember that Joshua is 6-foot-6. Joshua is smart in the ring and he knows how to avoid the shorter fighter.

“I think AJ will overcome Andy Ruiz and show what he can do in the ring. Ruiz has never been dropped and he’s never been knocked out. One part of me thinks he can go 12 rounds, but another part of me thinks if Joshua lands the big right hand or the uppercut, then Andy might go down for the first time in his career.

“I’m on the fence in terms of the fight going the distance or ending in a knockout.”

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