Following this week’s announcement of an immediate rematch between former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and his recent conqueror Andy Ruiz Jr, it seems every man and his dog has had their say on the outcome of the second tussle between the two.
One man whose opinion counts more than most is ‘The Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury, himself a former WBA, WBO and IBF champion, and his musings will not make for cheerful reading for team Joshua.
Ruiz thoroughly dominated his more illustrious opponent in June, inflicting a first career loss on the Brit with a brutal seventh round TKO on the back of three knockdowns.
Commenting on his expectations in their rematch, Fury was scathing of Joshua, stating: “It was all about Joshua at that time when he was fighting Ruiz, nobody gave Ruiz a prayer.
"But now it’s about Ruiz and I believe Ruiz does exactly the same the second time round.”
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When asked if he anticipated another knockout, Fury continued: “One million per cent. I thought Ruiz won every round in that fight.
“It wasn’t a fluke punch like Hasim Rahman and Lennox Lewis, and then in the rematch he turned up, didn’t get hit with a punch and knocked him out.
"He clearly lost the rounds. He was getting outboxed, he was getting outfought and then he got knocked down three times, two to boot."
Joshua has often been criticised for his bodybuilder type physique amid concerns that his considerable bulk has an adverse effect on his stamina and engine, a notion clearly not lost on Fury.
“I don’t see him really improving, not unless he comes out on his toes and tries to do a Tyson Fury and slip out the way, which he doesn’t have the body type or the boxing ability to do.”
Referencing his own fighting style, which often sees Fury sticking the jab while utilisiing movement to keep out of harm’s way, the former champion makes an interesting point in explaining why Joshua struggled so mightily with Ruiz’s own superior movement and deceptive athletic prowess.
Having taken the fight on short notice following Jarrell Miller’s adverse drug test, Ruiz was considered a major underdog going into his duel with the then champion.
But, while Joshua noticeably faded, Ruiz seemingly grew stronger with each knockdown of his opponent, even going toe-to-toe immediately after he was knocked down himself in the third round.
In summing up Joshua’s chances of reclaiming what once was his, Fury concluded: “The only prayer that Joshua’s got of beating Andy Ruiz is catching him like he did when he knocked him down.
"And jumping on him, and getting him out of there.
"We’ve seen it happen before. No-one’s invincible, it only takes one punch in the heavyweight division.
"But if he doesn’t land that punch early on in the fight, I don’t believe he wins, I think Ruiz wins again.”
The rematch was announced by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn this week and is set to take place on December 7 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, subject to terms being agreed by Ruiz.News Now - Sport News