It’s not the fight Anthony Joshua and his camp wanted, but Saturday night’s bout with Andy Ruiz Jr still has plenty riding on it.
For one thing, it’s AJ’s first fight in the USA. And he’ll be out to win the public over as he defends his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.
This was supposed to be a showdown with Jarrell Miller, but the American was found to have tested positive for a banned substance six weeks ago, with Ruiz Jr the best-placed opponent to fill the void.
Anthony Joshua fight odds
AJ is looking to go 23-0 in New York this weekend. He was 1/8 to beat Miller before that fight got canned, and he’s now a sound 1/25 to see off Ruiz Jr.
The Destroyer is no mug with a 32-1 record, but he’s giving away four inches in height to AJ and eight in reach. He’s the 10/1 outsider.
Ruiz Jr did give a solid account of himself against Joseph Parker in 2016, taking the Kiwi the full 12 rounds before losing out to a majority decision, but Joshua comfortably beat Parker in Cardiff last year.
Ruiz Jr has been talking the talk, and he’s hoping to take advantage of a pressure-free underdog role, but Joshua is by far the toughest fighter he’s ever faced in the ring.
And the AJ camp will want to make a good show of themselves Stateside, as a potential bout with Deontay Wilder continues to prove elusive.
It’s the clash everyone wants to see, but Wilder’s deal to fight Luis Ortiz this Autumn has again put a showdown with AJ on hold.
Anthony Joshua round odds
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City
When: Expected start 3:00am Sunday, 2nd June
How can I watch: Pay per view via Sky Sports Box Office
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication