Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr II – The Breakdown
Next week will see the biggest fight of the year in the heavyweight division when Anthony Joshua rematches against Andy Ruiz Jr. As we all know, Ruiz shocked the world when he defeated Joshua earlier in the year, upsetting Joshua’s maiden fight in the USA and taking his championship belts in the process.
Now a lot was made of Ruiz not exactly looking like a boxer, whilst Joshua as always came in looking in amazing shape. But looking at Ruiz from a boxing stand point, which is obviously far more important, Ruiz is actually a very very sound fighter who is very good technically.
How would you describe Ruiz? A pressure fighter? A counter puncher? Ruiz is always creeping in, looking to counter and with his fast hands and throwing punches in bunches, that makes Ruiz a dangerous proposition and a handful to deal with, especially when he is fighting on the counter. One thing to note here though is that Ruiz may have fast hands but he doesn’t have fast feet, so this is something Joshua should be aware of. Now I know a lot of people are saying AJ should fight behind the jab and keep Ruiz at range, a similar way to how he fought Joseph Parker but the down side of this is that Ruiz is a short heavyweight, he has been fighting taller guys his whole life and no doubt has battled countless opponents who tried to ride behind the jab – its definitely feasible that if Joshua decides to fight in this manner, Ruiz would have seen it all before and will feel right at home, so if that is going to be AJ’s fight tactics, then proceed with caution…We can also add that no one has really beaten Ruiz Jr as a professional, his sole loss was to Joseph Parker in Parker’s back yard and it was an extremely close fight which could have gone either way.
Being the shorter man also means Ruiz has more to hit, with Joshua standing 6’5/6’6 then Ruiz will look to attack the body as he did well in the first fight, switching levels often in his combinations and taking advantage of Joshua’s habit of lifting the elbows when defending particular shots, exposing his body. Ruiz has his body well covered not just technically but with a bit of extra weight which leads me to my next point on the comments that he has shed some weight for this fight. This is something I am not too keen on, Ruiz won the fight and shouldn’t need to drop weight – mainly because the extra weight also helps with his punch resistance, no doubt weighing as much as he did helped to absorb punches from the heavy set and one of the hardest punches in the division during their first fight.
So what does Anthony Joshua need to do this time round? It wasn’t a particularly close fight so AJ has a lot to do to turn it around but that is well within his capabilities. First of all and this is something I very briefly mentioned to Joshua in short online conversation, the lead hand needs to be used more, specifically the feint and the hook off the jab. With his reach advantage and Ruiz always on the look out to pounce on the counter, Joshua must take advantage of the feint to draw Ruiz into a counter and set up the trap with a shot behind the feint. This can be a feint followed by a right hand or a jab feint followed by the left hook, the latter was actually something Joseph Parker had some success with against Ruiz and AJ also had success with the hook off the jab in the first fight with Ruiz.
With Ruiz always looking to jump in with a combination on the counter, AJ should also be looking to use the stiff arm when jabbing, this means that if AJ misses with the jab, he can keep his jab out there and instead use it to stiff arm Ruiz so Ruiz cannot come over the top with the counter, the stiff arm can also be used to guide the opponent away out of harms way so they cannot hit you with any shots. As mentioned above, Ruiz does not have quick feet which means Joshua will need to use his own feet more so as not to allow Ruiz to set and plant his feet when throwing punches in bunches. Now that doesn’t mean AJ should be moving around the whole fight because we don’t know whether AJ’s conditioning will allow him to but it does mean that AJ cannot afford to sit and trade for too long and that fighting on the outside behind the jab may actually suit Ruiz.
So who is going to win Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr II? This going to be a hard fight for Anthony Joshua but being a man from Watford myself, I am going to back the local guy and pick AJ to win, I will go for the points win because Ruiz is a strong man with a durable chin so I don’t expect a knockout but I do expect a knockdown except this time AJ won’t rush in after and will instead continue to stick to his game plan and try to frustrate Ruiz.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Author of: The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle *Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
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