Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Joshua spars “chubby” sparring partners ahead of Ruiz rematch, Valdez and Frampton get opponents for Vegas card

andy ruiz
Andy Ruiz has to adjust to being the heavyweight champion of the world Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Anthony Joshua is currently working his way through a conveyor belt of Andy Ruiz Jnr clones, and Oscar Valdez and Carl Frampton share a card in Vegas

JUST as Andy Ruiz Jnr slims down and aims to get “lighter, faster and more powerful”, his December 7 opponent, Anthony Joshua, is in the midst of sparring “chubby” boxers attempting to replicate the Mexican American’s all-action style.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, believes that the longer preparation time will suit not only Ruiz, who plans on using it to tone up, but also Joshua, who was caught out by the switch of opponent last time and then caught early by a Ruiz left hook.

“There’s eight weeks to go, and he’s been in camp for four weeks already,” Hearn told Fino Boxing.

“A lot of early sparring now is replicating the style of Ruiz. Last time we had probably three weeks of sparring, and it was tough to find a guy like Ruiz, because there aren’t many like him: small, a little bit chubby, fast hands, and really good on the inside. Now we’ve replicated that, I feel like the preparation is going to be great.”

It’s the job of Andy Ruiz now to keep them on their toes and shock them all over again in Saudi Arabia on December 7. And he can do this before the first bell, too, if his current weight loss plan continues.

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz
Ruiz will come in lighter second time around (Action Images/Andrew Couldridge)

Super-featherweights Oscar Valdez and Carl Frampton will appear in separate fights on November 30 at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

In the main event, former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez will make his long-awaited super-featherweight debut in a 10-rounder against former world title challenger Andres Gutierrez, while the co-feature sees Frampton, a former world champion at both featherweight and super-bantamweight, take on the unbeaten Tyler McCreary in a 10-rounder.

“This a tremendous super featherweight doubleheader, and both Valdez and Frampton have their hands full against tough opponents,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “If Valdez and Frampton win, world title opportunities await them in 2020.”

Arum makes it sound as if Valdez and Frampton will be guided towards separate world title opportunities next year but surely, with both now campaigning at super-featherweight and competing on the same card, there is every chance they share a ring in 2020. It’s a fight rumoured for some time now. It would make a lot of sense.

First things first, though.

“I’m looking forward to November 30, as it’s my first fight as a super-featherweight,” Valdez, 26-0 (20), said. “I know my opponent is tough, but I plan on putting on a show for the fans. This is my third camp with (trainer) Eddy Reynoso, and it’s going great. This is an important first step towards another world title, and I plan to make the most of it.”

Valdez, a two-time Olympian, made six successful defences during his WBO featherweight title reign, highlights of which were all-action brawls against Miguel Marriaga, Scott Quigg and Genesis Servania. He then closed out his featherweight stint with wins over Carmine Tommasone in February and Jason Sanchez in June.

Gutierrez, meanwhile, is 38-2-1 (25) as a pro and has won three consecutive fights since losing a technical decision to Abner Mares in October 2017 for the WBA featherweight title. In his last fight, in June, he outpointed former world champion Tomas Rojas over 12 rounds.

Oscar Valdez
Oscar Valdez is back at a new weight (Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

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  • Just seen footage of the “arena” in Saudi Arabia this morning – it looks like they’re just starting to build it, there is nothing there but a flattened out area with rubble and mess all over the place at the moment.
    Eddie Hearn’s assurance that everything looked fantastic and the event was further along in Saudi than they would have been in this country, or the US, is clearly not true.

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