AMERICAN Andy Ruiz Jnr is the latest man rumoured to be stepping in for Jarrell Miller and challenging WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden, New York on June 1.
According to BoxingScene.com, the 29-year-old is set to meet Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, and attempt to negotiate a deal, thus joining the likes of Michael Hunter, Luis Ortiz, Manuel Charr and Adam Kownacki on the June 1 shortlist.
“We will be ready on June 1st,” said Ruiz Jnr. “I’m coming for those belts. That WBO belt belongs to me. Everyone knows I beat (Joseph) Parker.”
Should the fight go ahead, it would represent a hell of a turnaround for Ruiz, having only stopped Alexander Dimitrenko on Saturday night (April 20). One could argue, though, it will do Ruiz Jnr good to have some momentum going into what will be the biggest fight of his career. Moreover, it’s refreshing to hear a modern-day heavyweight actively pursue a fight even when the timing might not be ideal. It makes a change.
Blessed with fast hands, Ruiz Jnr has won three fights in a row since losing a controversial decision against Joseph Parker in December 2016. (Parker, of course, went on to make some Joshua money in March 2018, surrendering his WBO title following a tentative effort over 12 rounds.) He is one of the younger heavyweight contenders out there, has yet to be conclusively beaten, let alone stopped, and has always been a talented fighter, if one let down by questionable eating habits and ill-discipline. There is certainly potential with Ruiz Jnr. Few would question that.
Ultimately, Joshua vs. Ruiz Jnr won’t be a heavyweight title fight anybody will be in any rush to see, but, equally, it’s far from the worst option of those available. (The answer is Manuel Charr, if you were wondering.)
If there’s one thing Saturday night proved it’s that Dereck Chisora, one of the more exciting heavyweights in Britain, needs a willing and able dance partner to bring out the best in him.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s ill-conceived scrap with Senad Gashi, a hesitant southpaw with his mind only on reaching the final bell, wasn’t what the doctor ordered, nor did it do much for Chisora’s reputation. Coming as it did after a productive 2018 in which Chisora went to war with both Carlos Takam and Dillian Whyte, it was a fight the Finchley man could have probably done without.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Chisora, after all, got the win, he bagged 10 rounds, and he is back in the win column following that devastating penultimate round knockout loss to Whyte in December. Hooray. Better yet, the fighter formerly known as ‘Del Boy’ seems on course to be involved in a proper fight next time out, with New Zealand’s former WBO champion Joseph Parker rumoured to be a likely opponent.
“Joe will fight anyone,” Parker’s promoter, David Higgins, told Sky Sports. “He will certainly fight Derek Chisora. It’s just a matter of agreeing terms. It’s the same as April. We just need to close a deal, and that fight can happen.
“Joseph respects Chisora, but I don’t think he fears him. Chisora on his day does take a punch and he’s knocked a few people out over the years. You can never take anyone for granted.
“I think it will be an interesting fight that the fans will appreciate seeing. The goal will be to knock Chisora out.”
The question now, I suppose, is this: how much of what occurred on Saturday night should be attributed to Gashi’s reticent approach to the fight and how much should be attributed to the fact Chisora is now 35 years of age and perhaps on the decline? The answer, whatever it may be, will go a long way to determining how a potential Parker vs. Chisora fight will unfold.