The Anthony Joshua story begins a new chapter on Saturday night when he steps into the ring to face Andy Ruiz Jr in his first fight across the Pond. The reigning WBA ‘Super’, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion is unsurprisingly a short-priced 1/50 favourite to down his Mexican challenger in what should be a walk in Central Park for the Briton.
It was hoped Joshua’s American debut would be against a bigger hitter than Ruiz but talks with Deontay Wilder failed to produce a result, while New Yorker Jarrell Miller was forced to withdraw in April after a failed drugs test.
Attempting to fill the big boots left by AJ’s potential opponents is Ruiz, who has a record of 32-1, his only defeat coming via a split decision when he challenged Joseph Parker for the WBO title in 2016.
While he’s seen as a better all-round fighter than Miller, he is still not in the same league as Joshua.
The Olympic gold medallist will be looking to make a statement on his American debut at the revered Madison Square Garden and will be looking to dispatch Ruiz as quickly as possible.
He is 2/9 to win via stoppage and that would appear inevitable given only one of his 22 professional fights has gone the distance.
However, the 29-year-old has become a little more cautious since he had belts to lose and is unlikely to go for the kill right from the off.
Only one of his last five fights has ended before the fourth round and with Ruiz possessing some speed to keep him out of the way early on, a Joshua stoppage in the second quarter of the fight offers a bit of value.
There is a stacked undercard to look forward to before Joshua sets foot in the ring in the early hours with Callum Smith and Katie Taylor both in action.
However, the potential fight of the evening could be Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle’s encounter.
The 35-year-old Algieri is the 4/13 favourite against Hull-born Coyle, who doesn’t do boring fights. Algieri doesn’t possess much KO power with just eight of his 23 wins coming via stoppage and given he should have too much clash for the scrappy Coyle, a points win for the American appeals.
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