Clash on the Dunes occurs on Saturday and for those who have been living under a rock, this means one thing, Anthony Joshua attempts to regain his WBA, IBF, WBO and WBO world heavyweight title straps, that were ripped off him in dramatic style, on 1st June at Madison Square Garden, New York, by Andy Ruiz Jnr.
The rematch titled as Ruiz vs Joshua 2 which Andy Ruiz Jnr was contractually obliged to give Joshua as part of the deal that saw him knock out Britain’s world champion in New York, is controversially taking place in Saudi Arabia. Putting politics and also human rights to one side as to why the bout should or should not take place in the Kingdom of Saud, Saturday night’s packed card, will culminate in seeing whether ‘AJ’ can regain the titles and in doing so become a 2 time heavyweight champion of the world.
Having studied both boxers all week in Diriyah, from the open workout, to the gala dinner last night and the weigh in that has just occurred now, courtesy of footage provided by the likes of iFL TV, Boxing Social and Sky Sports Boxing YouTube channels, one thing is for sure, Joshua seems to have got his hunger back. Unshaven and performing less media duties than normal during the weak, AJ looks far leaning and set for business.
In comparison Ruiz Jnr still seems the affable individual that shocked the boxing world back at the beginning of June this year and his open workout belied his somewhat rotund body, with his speed being very impressive for a man of his size. However, Ruiz Jnr coming in at a whopping 20st 3lbs on the scales, is a stone more than what he weighed in New York.
By contrast AJ has come in at his lightest weight for some time, certainly his lightest weight in all the world title fights which he has been involved in, weighing in at his second lightest ever in the professional ranks at 16st 13lbs.
So AJ is obviously looking for speed in tomorrow night’s fight, with ring walks set to begin at 8:45pm GMT. But if he is to prevail and win, he will need to ensure he uses his physical advantages in his height and reach to keep Ruiz off. Especially as he is conceded 3 stone to the US based Mexican champion. Lateral movement will be key to Joshua’s success as well as not being drawn into a slugfest, where Ruiz’s hand speed and his hooking ability is second to none in the division.
All this said and done, I am backing AJ to win, in what is a must win fight if his career is to progress. A devastating loss like last time could be the final curtain call on his career.
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