Boxing fans around the world have wanted Anthony Joshua to fight in the United States.
Well, the moment has come as Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) make his U.S. debut on Saturday night, when he defends his IBF, WBA (Super) and WBO heavyweight titles against former championship challenger Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York City, live and exclusively on DAZN.
After Joshua notched a seventh-round TKO over Alexander Povetkin last September, he hoped to face WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder on April 13 at Wembley Stadium to determine an undisputed heavyweight champion. But Wilder, who fought to a thrilling split draw with Tyson Fury in December, decided to go in a different direction, as he faced Dominic Breazeale on May 18 and notched a first-round knockout.
So, Joshua agreed to take on Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller. But Miller was denied a boxing license by the state of New York in April after failing a drug test and two subsequent tests. With Joshua in need of an opponent, Ruiz stepped up to the plate.
Ruiz (32-1, 21 KOs) enters the bout coming off of making Alexander Dimitrenko quit on his stool between the fifth and sixth round on April 20. The only blemish on the 29-year-old fighter’s resume is a December 2016 majority decision loss to then-WBO titleholder Joseph Parker, although some boxing pundits felt like Ruiz did enough to win that fight.
Can Ruiz shock the world and pull off the monumental upset? Or does Joshua stay focused on the task at hand and garner another win to keep hopes of an undisputed heavyweight title fight alive?
(All times Eastern.)