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Anthony Joshua, 30, is eager to avenge his shock defeat last June, where Mexican-American Andy Ruiz, Jr, dropped the Brit 4 times before a TKO was declared in round 7 at Madison Square Garden. The clean sweep of heavyweight belts – WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles – all held by Joshua since 2016, passed to the 30-year old Mexican challenger who says of Joshua “I don’t think he’s ever fought a short guy that pressures and is pretty slick”.
The rematch, marketed as “Clash on the Dunes”, takes place this Saturday, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Joshua sees the encounter as a golden opportunity to show boxing fans that he is still the best heavyweight in the world, saying “Give me a second chance and you’ll see what I can do with it”.
And, despite Ruiz’s emphatic win in June, he remains the underdog with bookmaker Betfair offering best odds of 21/10 that the Mexican will retain his unified world heavyweight titles. In comparison, Unibet’s are odds on for a Joshua win at 4/9.
There is huge interest in this boxing match and sports enthusiasts are eager to see if Joshua can defeat Ruiz this time round. The popular Watford boxer says “One loss can’t strip your skin off overnight. When you put solid foundations in, one chip in the brick can’t destroy the whole building”. 6 ft 6” Joshua has been sparring with smaller guys to prepare for Saturday and claims he has adjusted his style to better defeat Ruiz who stands at 6ft 2”, saying “I have picked up little tricks of the trade”.
He cannot be complacent as Ruiz has won 33 professional fights with his sole defeat in 2016 (a majority decision in his bout against Joseph Parker). Ruiz may not look the part compared to Joshua, and he certainly lacks Joshua’s height and reach but he is a fearless and relentless fighter, determined to show that his win in June was not a fluke.
An enormous purse of $50million is more than twice as big as the New York bout’s. But it’s not just hard cash on the line, it’s Anthony Joshua’s reputation. And we can’t put a figure on that.
William Hill are guaranteeing they will have the best odds on the round betting market for Joshua v Ruiz.
SkySports coverage starts at 5pm GMT this Saturday, 7 December, with the fight due to start at 9pm.