Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua 2 – Preview

 

Picture via Andy Ruiz’s Instagram.

So as you may be able to tell from the title of this post, I have decided to try something different with nobodyisready.com. This will be my first ever blog post NOT about wrestling, instead I’ve decided to talk about another of my loves… boxing. It’s a sport I’ve fell in love with over the years, ever since I saw a young Amir Khan win his silver medal in Athens, and Ricky Hatton becoming a cult-hero I was hooked. Down the years I’ve followed the likes of David Haye, Floyd Mayweather, Carl Froch to name a few… and then in the London 2012 Olympics I saw a colossus of a man win a gold medal. Since then I watched all 22 of his professional fights with glee as he won every time, and beat the likes of Dillian Whyte, Charles Martin, Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin. On his way he collected an astonishing  record of 21 wins by knockout, with only former world champion Parker taking him to a decision victory, as AJ collected 3 of the 4 world heavyweight belts. On June 1st 2019 with talk already abound of a World title unification fight with Deontay Wilder, AJ was set for his American debut at Madison Square Garden defending his heavyweight title belts against loud-mouth challenger Jarrell Miller. The usually ultra-cool AJ had finally met an opponent who seemed to rile him, there was a real dislike from Joshua towards his would-be challenger and I certainly felt as a fan of his that he seriously had to control himself in the fight to avoid his personal feelings towards Miller getting in the way of his gameplan for victory. But on April 17th 2019, a matter of around 6 weeks before the fight, it was confirmed by the Voluntary Anti Doping Association that the camps of both fighters were informed that Miller had tested positive for a banned substance. Miller was out. And after a scramble by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn to find a replacement challenger it was Andy Ruiz Jr who was brought in to take up the challenge of trying to take the belts from a real life fighting machine.

Picture from the Irish Mirror.

The build up was pretty extraordinary. At one press conference we had AJ let Ruiz pose with HIS world title belts! It was pretty incredible. Little did we know the fight itself would be one of the most amazing fights in boxing history. As it turned out June 1st 2019 was an amazing day for me. In the early evening me and my friend James went to a bar in Leicester town centre to watch the Champions League Final between Liverpool and Tottenham. Later I came home and watched NXT TakeOver: 25 which was an excellent wrestling show featuring one of the best matches in WWE history in the main event between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano. My mammoth day of sport was completed by staying up until the very early hours of the next morning to watch my favourite boxer continue his march towards the ultimate goal of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. This was a formality we ALL thought, and if anybody tells you they had even the slightest of doubts that Anthony Joshua would defeat Andy Ruiz Jr they’re simply a liar. 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

What was the main thing from Andy Ruiz Jr was just how absolute polar opposite physique wise the challenger was to the champion. Joshua with the physique of a God, Ruiz with twice the body fat that AJ has muscle. But MSG and the eyes of the world hadn’t come to see the fatman done good, they had come for the AJ show. But… signs that something was not right soon became apparent. AJ comes across to me as somewhat of an iceman, completely unflappable and not one to be stressed out by anything he faces. But I looked at a fighter I had seen 22 times in a pro ring, and I hadn’t seen him look like this. He looked stood in the ring before the fight like he was about to nod off, he didn’t seem relaxed, he seemed almost lethargic. At the time I remember thinking to myself that he seemed different to normal, not as alive to the situation and the bright lights that were on him. This was not someone making his pro debut for god sake, this was the heavyweight champion of the world?!?! Early on the fight was fairly uneventful, with Ruiz showing faint signs he had good punch power, but Joshua seemed to be feeling his way through the first couple of rounds, and AJ even catching Ruiz with a huge shot that sent Ruiz to the canvas in round 3 with a fierce combination of punches, this was the first time Ruiz had been down in his career. Ruiz had shown to be a good challenge but it looked to be going the same way as most of the others had gone before… and then… it all began to go wrong… an incredible exchange between both ended in amazing fashion as Joshua himself was put on the ring floor! The crowd roared in astonishment as Joshua looked on as the ref got to a count of 6 before he rose to his feet again and continued. AJ was back up, but this was an almighty shock to everyone’s system. 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

Ruiz looked to blast AJ out of there in Round 3, and towards the end of the round another combination of shots sent a wobbly Joshua down again! Yet somehow AJ got up and made it to his stool despite his legs looking very very shaky. I cannot explain the panic I felt as a loyal AJ fan watching at this point. Never in my worst nightmares before this fight did I even fathom a situation like this. Round 4 saw Ruiz really try and gain the most amazing win by flying out the blocks and backing AJ up, and then something happened which really alarmed me as an AJ fan… Early on in Round 4 AJ hit Ruiz with the sort of shot I’ve seen finish many of his prior opponents… yet this time as Sky Boxing commentator Adam Smith rightly said the shot on Ruiz “bounced off his chin” as if it was a measly jab and barely seemed to hurt Ruiz. What on earth was I watching I thought? Round 4 went by with a bit of a stalemate… but Ruiz Jr now was firmly the favourite to pull off the biggest of upsets. After Round 4 AJ is on his stool with his trainer Rob McCkracken giving him instructions, when Joshua asked “what shot was it?” that took him down… he didn’t even see the shot coming… “Jab, Jab, Right hand” his trainer told him to get him back in the game, seemingly the plan now was for AJ to go back to basics… Round 5 saw the crowd really get behind the champion, and AJ would respond with a big left hook that saw Ruiz back away quickly out of trouble, but he was soon backing the champion up again and taking the fight to him. The talk in the AJ corner after the round was again alarming to me as a fan, with McCracken telling Joshua again to go jab, jab, right hand as AJ had a bloody nose treated too, and that he simply had to win these rounds now. When you have to give the heavyweight champion this sort of basic level advice you really are desperate in my opinion. This was a new one for the untouchable Joshua… little did we know it would get even worse… Round 6 was a real dog fight from both at the start, the sky commentators between them had Ruiz one up and another had it level. Me personally, for what it’s worth, also had Ruiz a round up at this stage in the fight… as Round 6 went on Joshua had blood coming from his nose but it was fairly even with neither guy looking to hit that BIG shot… until Ruiz hit a couple of decent shots with 40 seconds left of the round and a couple more less than 30 left… Ruiz missed a big shot that AJ ducked under that I’m certain would’ve floored Joshua had he not dodged it, but another round had passed. Ruiz two rounds up in my books with another 6 still scheduled, this was NOT something we expected and certainly not to have seen two of the three knockdowns come from the challenger. At the stool again at the end of the round, the quote that has gone round and around ever since… 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

“Why am I feeling like this?” 

That was a direct quote from the then heavyweight champion of the world, half way through a fight. I froze as a fan watching. He was lost, he was gone, the end was surely near I thought. Mentally the indestructible force had been tagged… and Round 7… well… 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

AJ look determined but Ruiz wasn’t phased, at around the 2.30 remaining stage Ruiz hit the most amazing combo of shots that absolutely destroyed Joshua as he was sent down AGAIN… he got up quickly, but Ruiz was prancing around in the opposite corner as the ref told him to back off whilst he checked on Joshua… AJ backed into the corner as the ref continued his count… he got his hands up after the ref’s command with the count stopped at 8… Joshua even rose a grin as he went back in to the fire… at this stage it would be a miracle if Joshua survived this round let alone the rest of the fight… and so again not long after Ruiz got Joshua to take a knee after more shots… with AJ spitting out his gum shield to buy him some more time to try and recover… He just about beat the count and went back to the corner… but after a short delay the referee had seen enough and waved the fight off… 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

Andy Ruiz Jr had done the impossible. For many years people talked about when Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson, this would be just that for another generation and more. On around 6 weeks notice the overwhelming underdog had come in and stopped the previously undefeated AJ and became Mexico’s first ever world heavyweight champion of the sport of Boxing. I have watched a lot of sport in my time, and I’m a very passionate man and sports fan, I’ve not felt as much utter devastation at watching a sporting event as when I watched the end of this fight. 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

So flash forward around 6 months later. And we have Joshua’s chance at redemption. In the unusual surroundings of the Saudi Arabian desert, these two titans will clash again in possibly the most important fight in recent memory. Purely for everything that could happen depending on how this fight goes. I’ve thought for a long time that once again we would get to a point where we would again have an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Right now we have Andy Ruiz Jr in possession of the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO belts, Deontay Wilder with the WBC belt, as well as the undefeated Tyson Fury as the lineal champion (google it please it’d take me a long time to explain). We have Ruiz vs AJ 2 now, and Wilder vs Fury in their rematch this coming February following a draw in their first meeting. So logic would suggest we get the two winners of those fights go at it for all the gold? Well yes, but boxing is subject to a lot of bollocks. Different promoters and broadcasters can often get in the way of making certain fights. But I’ve always, maybe naively, thought that the likes of Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren and Lou DiBella would realise that if they worked together and got the SUPER fights made it’d make the eventual King even greater and make them ALL more millions upon millions along the way? Who knows what combo we have to do before we get to ONE champion; maybe Ruiz wins again and wants Wilder or Fury, maybe Joshua gets his revenge but they have to go again for a trilogy fight, maybe Fury beats Wilder but they want a third fight, but regardless I see it all ending with one true heavyweight champion. Exactly how it should be. Maybe just wishful thinking from me as a fan, but I live in hope. 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

Now… the big question I’m sure you all have for me is, who wins? Well, as many of you will know my favourite boxer and possible favourite sportsman full stop is Anthony Joshua. I’m a very loyal person and that goes on to who I follow in sports. I have been more confident than not ahead of every one of AJ’s fights before. This is the first time I’m not sure. I’m not saying I think Joshua will lose, I’m just not totally confident he will win. Ruiz has somewhat altered his ‘fat-man’ gimmick by trimming down a fair bit so it will be interesting to see how that affects him this time around. It will be interesting to see how he handles the fight and the occasion this time around now he is the man, now HE is the champion, as much as it will be interesting to see how Joshua comes out for the first time no longer being the undefeated would-be king. 

Picture via Sky Sports Boxing YouTube.

The Gloves Are Off is an exceptional series that is hosted by Sky boxing’s and former champion Johnny Nelson. Essentially he sits in between two boxers ahead of a big fight and they talk about the upcoming clash. The one for Ruiz v Joshua 2 was fascinating viewing, as was the analysis special show that had Nelson host a discussion betwen Carl Froch, Tony Bellew, David Haye and Paulie Malignaggi about the huge upcoming fight. In the one between both the fighters themselves though, both guys seemed relaxed and happy enough and showed one another great respect, even swapping jokes and laughs along the way. But the big talking point of the show was when Nelson asked Ruiz about the finish of the first fight, and if he thought AJ had quit in fight number 1 (9.48 in the YouTube video of the show if you were wondering)? Joshua looked on and to me at least seemed fuming, Ruiz calmly said “erm… a little bit, I feel like he quit because of the way it was going…” 

WOW I thought. You’ve just told a PROUD fighter and man like Anthony Joshua that he QUIT. Now of course, only Joshua knows if he quit, but the fact is Ruiz believes or at least said he thought AJ QUIT. If that isn’t a personal shot at the man and character that Anthony Joshua is, I don’t know what is. 

So who will win? Well the sport of boxing is maybe the most illogical sport there is, anybody really can beat anybody as the first fight showed, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘a fighting chance’ or a ‘puncher’s chance’. But what’s funny to me is Andy Ruiz Jr has a professional boxing record of 33 wins from 34 fights. His only defeat being a split decision loss to former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. Joseph Parker lost his title to Anthony Joshua, and since then Joseph Parker has been beaten once more this time by Dillian Whyte. Dillian Whyte’s only pro loss to date came against… Anthony Joshua. And of course Anthony Joshua’s only defeat as a pro came against Andy Ruiz Jr! All that make sense??? Pretty crazy sport Boxing isn’t it? And that was none more so evident that in the first fight. 

Second time around… My heart as always is with Joshua. My head says Ruiz shocks the world AGAIN. And although boxing is often THE hardest sport to predict, something tells me this fight will not last very long. 

Josh. 

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr 1 – FULL FIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GLOVES ARE OFF – Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua 2

 

 

 

 

THE GLOVES ARE OFF – Analysing Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua 2

 

 

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