Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua(22-0. 21 KOs) will make his much anticipated American debut on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden against Andy Ruiz(.32-1, 21 KOs).
Obviously, Joshua wants to impress because it’s his first time fighting on American soil. Also, after what we saw Deontay Wilder do to Dominic Breazeale(first-round KO) two weeks ago, Joshua might feel the pressure to look spectacular on June 1. However, Ruiz is no slouch. In his only loss, many believed he beat Joseph Parker in their matchup from 2016, and according to Joshua, Ruiz is someone he knows he has to take seriously.
“Fighting Andy for me is just as dangerous as fighting Wilder or (Tyson)Fury because they both possess their own skills, so I have to take Andy deadly serious,” Joshua said at a press conference today. “I don’t overlook him at all, I respect him and respect his team, and I really respect he put his name on the dotted line to take this challenge. No challenge is easy, no matter what the bookers are telling you or the odd makers. Andy is going to come in here and give me a real good fight and cause problems, and it’s down to me as a champion to think smart, box clever, outbox, out strength, and outmuscle Andy Ruiz to get that win.
“No fight like after the fight when your hands are raised, your opponent has been defeated and thinking about being on a beach, or being with your family, and focus on the next challenge ahead. Right now I’m only champion till June 1 when I have to defend my titles. I’m currently the heavyweight champion of the world, but June 1 I put them in the air, and they’re up for grabs. Let the best man win.”
Comparing Ruiz to Fury and Wilder is a little bit of a stretch, but Joshua has to sell the fight, so I get it. In boxing, you have to take all of your opponents seriously because anything can happen. But, if Joshua is who we think he is, he should walk out of that ring on Saturday night still undefeated and still a champion.
Photo: Ed Muholland