IT is not ideal having to constantly talk about your physique. Andy Ruiz is hardly typical of professional prizefighters. He is flabby, fleshy and frankly fat. He does not cut an imposing figure, especially going in as a short notice replacement opponent against British behemoth Anthony Joshua. But when it comes to their IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight title fight on June 1 at Madison Square, Ruiz and his trainer insist that looks can be deceiving.
Ruiz is a more tested fighter than Jarrell Miller, who was going to fight Joshua until he failed multiple drug tests. But the Mexican is not as intriguing an opponent as a loud-mouthed heavyweight new to the top level, simply because we already know how Ruiz matches up against the higher calibre fighters. He has fought Joseph Parker, for the WBO title in 2016, and he lost.
But Ruiz declares, “I have a second chance to make history, to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. I’m here to win it.
“I’m here to win, I’m not scared of nobody.”
“I see a lot of flaws that he [Joshua] does,” Ruiz added. “I can slip the punches, that what we’ve been practising a lot, bobbing and weaving, throwing punches, counter-punching.
“I can move, I can box, throw a lot of punches, combinations, I’m here to shock the world.”
Ruiz has been active, coming off a win over Alexander Dimitrenko only a couple of weeks ago. He reckons that that leaves him prepared for this fight. “I just fought April 20. I’m sharp, I’m prepared, we don’t have to start a new training camp. The training camp, it just keeps going. I’m really excited for June 1. Everyone’s underestimating me, the way that I look and all that. But to tell you the truth I have heart, I throw a lot of punches. I’m going to show the world what I am and what I can do and I’m going to prove everybody wrong,” he said.
His trainer Manny Robles explained further, “People think we’re taking the fight on short notice but really we’re not. We just got back from a 10 week camp heading into our last fight, took a few days off, went right back into the gym, got a great opportunity.
“We’re following on from our last fight. He got the ring rust out of the way, had a good outing and so now we continue feed off of that and continue to grow and continue to get better.”
“We’re going to take advantage of this opportunity,” he continued. “A lot of people will doubt Andy because of his physical appearance. Don’t worry about what you see on the outside, because what this kid has on the inside is not very common.”
Robles concluded, “He [Joshua] has never fought a Mexican fighter, and this kid is different. He’s definitely a pressure fighter, obviously being the shorter fighter, it’s not rocket science, we’re going to look for the fight, we’re going to look to get on the inside and break down that body. Personally I don’t think Joshua has ever been hit to the body the way this kid knows how to go to the body. He’s a Mexican fighter, Mexican fighters are known for that exactly, go to the body and punish the body so that’s what we’re going to be looking for.”
Joshua has in fact boxed a Mexican before. Not as a professional boxer, but as an amateur he did box Mexico’s representative at the 2011 amateur World championships, Juan Hiracheta. Joshua won, naturally, indeed courtesy of an inside the distance stoppage. Whether that’s an omen for this heavyweight unification, we’ll have to wait and see.