The June 1 match between Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) and Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) produced one the biggest upsets in boxing history. The unexpected victory for the Mexican-American led to many stars coming out to congratulate him, including Triple H on Twitter. The good news for boxing fans is that a rematch is on the cards and it will likely be the fight of the year.
Reuters reported that the former champion will exercise his rematch clause with Ruiz Jr. with the aim of reclaiming the titles he lost. The fight will take place either in November or December at a venue still to be determined.
Both Ruiz Jr. and Joshua will be out to prove something. For the Mexican-American champ, this rematch will be a chance to prove that his shock win in June wasn’t a fluke. For the British challenger, it will be a shot at redemption. Not to mention, the IBF, WBA, and WBO titles will once again be on the line. Victory will also likely lead to a potential blockbuster showdown with one of the division’s two biggest stars: Tyson Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) or Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 40 KOs).
What makes this fight so tantalizing is that each fighter will be much better prepared. One of the reasons that Joshua lost the fight was that he was over-confident. Joshua was the clear favorite against Ruiz, with bwin Boxing predicting that he would win by round 4. The Brit’s reach, power, and height were supposed to be too much for Ruiz. His over-confidence was best displayed at the weigh-in when he allowed Ruiz Jr. to hold his belts. He already had one eye on a future match-up with either Fury or Wilder. Joshua was then outmatched by Ruiz Jr.’s attacking style and was knocked down twice in the third round. This time he won’t be underestimating his opponent. Ruiz Jr. on the other hand will be determined to back up his post-match claim that Joshua is not a good fighter. He will be aware that there are rumors that Joshua was ill during the build up to the fight, which caused him to underperform.
Joshua–Ruiz I was supposed to be AJ’s introduction to America. Joshua knew it, even telling ESPN that his first match on US soil “is more than just a fight.” It was supposed to be his night, his show. If Ruiz–Joshua I was the upset of the year, then Ruiz–Joshua II has the makings of being the fight of year. Both are excellent fighters, and now each of them have a chip on their shoulder. With the belts and each fighter’s pride on the line, the stakes for the rematch are arguably much higher than the June fight. In other words, everything is set up perfectly for Ruiz and Joshua to make 2019’s fight of the year