The boxing world was turned on its head earlier in the year when Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the online sportsbook odds of 33/1 to beat Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden.
The heavyweight division was turned on its head, and everything was questioned.
However, the rematch has been announced for Saudi Arabia at the end of 2019, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher for either fighter or in fact this division. There are so many finely poised questions that need resolving, but there are still those that question whether this is the biggest fight of 2019. There is no doubt- it is.
What Would A Win Do For Ruiz
There have been plenty of shocks in the ring down the years, but maybe none more so than what Ruiz was able to do to Joshua in New York. However, many of those shocking victors have gone on to just be nothing more than a blip, and they weren’t able to achieve anything else afterwards. There is still a huge question over the talent of Ruiz, and many still lament his victory as a fluke. A win in Diriyah would take him to a whole new level.
His amateur pedigree was unbelievable, and even in his professional career, he has only lost once. That defeat came in contentious fashion against Joseph Parker in New Zealand. The fact that Joshua undervalued his ability in this first fight was his downfall, but the truth is, Ruiz does have talent. But, a win in the rematch would prove that he can stand up against the best and could put him in line for a unification bout against one of Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury or Luis Ortiz later in 2020. This night in Saudi Arabia could be the making of Ruiz.
Joshua Can’t Afford Defeat
Anthony Joshua talks a lot about legacy, and in truth, his legacy at the moment is starring down the barrel of being blown away. There were always those that believed he was a flash in the pan and never really good enough to stand up against the best.
Fighters in previous bouts have put chinks in his armoury, and a first defeat for the Brit in the eyes of the experts was inevitable.
However, he looks hungrier again now, like a horse in the 2 eager to race. That is something that we haven’t been able to say about Joshua for years. He hasn’t truly looked psyched for a fight since his bout with Vladimir Klitschko. Since that bout at Wembley, he has edged past Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker, before another underwhelming performance against Alexander Povetkin.
The only reason that nobody downplayed his performances was because he ran out the winner.
Unfortunately, the loss against Ruiz opened up a can of worms for the Brit, and now he must prove all the critics wrong. This time there will be no excuses; he will need to win this fight. Otherwise, his career is effectively over.
This bout is monstrous because of what it could mean for the heavyweight division. A Ruiz win means that the world will be shocked once more, and the Mexican could be in line for a unification bout. Meanwhile, if Joshua wins, then we could finally be set to see some of the biggest bouts the heavyweight scene has ever seen.
The talks surrounding Joshua vs Fury or Wilder had an impact on the previous bout, but those discussions will remain. These are the fights that the boxing fans want to see, but they will only come to fruition with a win for Joshua. There are also the interesting elements of Dillian Whyte and Oleksandr Usyk now around, which makes the heavyweight division the best place in general for boxing fans.