By: Hans Themistode
Anthony Joshua makes his long awaited U.S. debut, when he takes on former title challenger Andy Ruiz Jr (32-1, 21 KOs) at Madison Square Garden. Up until this point, Joshua has competed solely across the pond in the United Kingdom.
Joshua won’t be getting a soft touch in his first fight in America. Ruiz has had an impressive career thus far, and is sure to test the unified Heavyweight champion. Joshua can’t get complacent. If he overlooks Ruiz in anyway, then it will lead to his downfall.
Keep Him On The Outside
Joshua’s power is well chronicled, he can end a fight in a blink of an eye. His inside game however, needs a bit more work. The unified champion isn’t know for his body attack or work in the clinch. Ruiz on the other hand has a track record of success once he gets inside.
Ruiz actually outweighed Joshua by over 20 pounds when they hit the scales. That amount of weight leaning on Joshua all night could be draining. What Joshua should focus on is using his eight inch reach advantage to keep the jab in the face of his opponent all night long. Ruiz may end up getting on the inside but Joshua needs to make him pay for getting too close.
Odds makers have made Joshua a huge favorite coming into this contest. It’s for good reason. Joshua may very well be the best Heavyweight in the world. With that being said, he has to remain calm. WBC Heavyweight belt holder Deontay Wilder, sent a chilling message with his one round destruction of Dominic Breazeale just a few short weeks ago. With this being Joshua’s first fight in America, he may feel pressured to deliver his own statement. That would lead to his defeat.
Although just one opponent has survived to the final bell against Joshua, he isn’t a one punch knockout artist. The British born fighter is more of counter puncher who waits until the perfect time to catch his man. His opponents often times crumble after an accumulation of punishment, not just one single shot. If Joshua can stay patient and wait for the right openings he’ll be able to get his man out of there in spectacular fashion.
Stand Your Ground
Ruiz is an aggressive come forward fighter. He also throws punches in bunches. Joshua can’t afford to allow Ruiz push him back.
Joshua, instead needs to stand his ground and bully the smaller Ruiz. If Joshua moves back all night then it will play right into the hands of Ruiz. Expect the champion to force Ruiz back and impose his will on the contest.