SATURDAY night sees Anthony Joshua make his long awaited debut across the pond, albeit in more low-key circumstances than fight fans would like.

Andy Ruiz Jr does not represent the sort of marquee name that will get the pulses racing, although I think he should give Joshua a decent work out at Madison Square Garden.

Ruiz doesn’t boast an imposing physique, but does possess the hand speed and ring craft to make his presence felt in the fight.

His only defeat in 32 previous bouts was a narrow majority decision to Joseph Parker in the Kiwi’s back yard, a result that Ruiz still contests. Three victories since should see him come into the fight with confidence.

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Joshua laboured to victory against Parker and has found smaller heavyweights harder to deal with generally in his career thus far.

On that basis, I expect Joshua to have to work for his victory. Without the concussive power of Wilder, Joshua has nevertheless pounded several previous opponents into submission and I expect this fight to go down a similar path, with Ruiz’s lack of conditioning betraying him in the middle rounds, where I fancy Joshua to step through the gears and land the KO/TKO.

The bookies see it the same way however, and odds of 1/6 don’t appeal. On that basis I think the value bets in this one are more medium and small stakes rather than larger stakes.

Joshua v Ruiz Jr Tips

Undercard holds strong interest

British interest in the undercard will also be strong, with Callum Smith looking to build on an impressive stoppage against George Groves last time out, after which Groves called time on his career.

Hassan N’Dam is also in the twilight of his career and whilst he has given credible performances at world level at middleweight, Smith should have too much for N’Dam in every department and I expect him to retain his WBA Super Middleweight crown inside the distance.

At 1/5 for a KO/TKO, value is hard to find, so I’ll be having a pop at a middle rounds stoppage, as the step up in weight and physicality of Smith overwhelms N’Dam.

Irish eyes will be on the ever impressive Katie Taylor, as she looks to continue her assault on the women’s lightweight division, looking to unify the division by taking Delfine Persoon’s WBC strap. This will be Taylor’s toughest test to date, and she’s likely to need to go the full distance against the highly capable Persoon.

Taylor’s hand speed and skills should be more than enough to take this one on points.

A similar outcome is expected for Josh Kelly, who has been patchy in his career so far and should find the seasoned Ray Robinson too difficult to stop inside the distance, but should prevail on points.

A small stakes treble on Smith in rounds 5-8 and both Taylor and Kelly by points pays 6/1 with Ladbrokes
and Coral.

Undercard Treble

  • Smith in rounds 5-8
  • Taylor by points
  • Kelly by points
  • Treble pays 6/1 at Ladbrokes

Add in Joshua in rounds 5-8 and the fourfold is a tasty 19/1.

Good luck fight fans, hope It’s an entertaining evening of boxing.

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