THE heat is on Anthony Joshua tomorrow evening and not just because showcase world championship boxing has come to Diriyah in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua is seeking to avenge his shock 7th round stoppage defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in June this year and regain the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles.
This is an absolutely fascinating fight, made even more so by Joshua’s weight drop and Ruiz Jr’s weight gain, since the first encounter.
There will be over 3 stones in weight difference between the fighters as they step into the ring. Joshua coming in trimmer to try and counter Ruiz Jr’s speed, whilst the American is looking to blast Joshua out of there again, by his own admission.
I expect a cagey opening to this fight, as both fighters look to figure each other out, before we see fireworks in the middle rounds.
Both fighters were on the canvas last time out so there’s no doubt both have the power to hurt the other. Ruiz Jr certainly doesn’t look like he’s planned on going the distance and his short stature and quick hands will cause Joshua problems.
Likewise, expect Joshua to have success with improved speed and the superior height and reach.
Whoever walks out of the ring champion on Saturday night, will have done so by knockout. I don’t think there is value in Joshua at 2/5 and have a feeling he will struggle with Ruiz Jr’s speed and strength again, as questions over Joshua’s chin linger for me.
- Main stake – either fighter to win in rounds 5-8 – 15/8 – Skybet
- Medium stakes – o2.5 knockdowns – 7/2 – Skybet
- Small stakes – Ruiz Jr to win by KO / TKO / DQ – 9/4 – Bet 365, Betfair
- Ruiz Jr to win in rounds 5 – 8 – 7/1 – Betfair
- Ruiz Jr to win in round 6 – 35/1 – Marathon Bet
- Ruiz Jr to win in round 8 – 33/1 – William Hill
Alexander Povetkin v Michael Hunter
On the undercard two fighters at opposite ends of their careers clash, as the dependable and dangerous Alexander Povetkin, in the twilight of a career that has seen him only lose twice in 35 fights, to Joshua and Klitschko, squares off against Michael “the Bounty” Hunter, who himself has only 1 loss on his record and has title aspirations in the heavyweight division.
Povetkin, although 40, showed in his last outing against Hughie Fury that he still has lots to give.
Although Hunter is favoured by the bookies, I don’t think he has the power to get Povetkin out of there, and I fancy the Russian will draw on all of his experience to take this one the distance and get the win on points.
- Small stakes – Povetkin to win by Decision or Technical Decision – 4/1 – Bet365
Dillian Whyte v Mariusz Wach
The clouds of suspicion over possible doping have lifted from Dillian Whyte, and he will be looking to thrust himself back into world title reckoning with a convincing win over Mariusz Wach.
Whyte has come in a little heavy for this one, so it’s questionable whether he has had the best preparation.
Nevertheless, I fully expect him to take the knockout victory. Given he may not be ready to go ten rounds I think Whyte will spend a few rounds getting the measure of his opponent before letting some bombs go.
- Small stakes – Whyte in rounds 1 – 5 – 7/4 – Sky Bet
Finally, a small stakes treble on:
- Either to win in rounds 5 – 8 – Joshua v Ruiz Jr
- Fight to go the distance – Yes – Povetkin v Hunter
- Whyte to win by KO/TKO/DQ
- Pays 4.52/1 with Skybet
Good luck fight fans, here’s hoping for an explosive night of heavyweight boxing!!