Anthony Joshua is coming to Madison Square Garden with the opportunity to add a memorable moment to his legacy.
WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO undefeated heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) will make his long-awaited United States debut as he takes on Andy Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) on June 1 at Madison Square Garden.
Last time we saw Joshua in the ring, he stopped Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round. That was back in September at Wembley Stadium in England.
Joshua is must-see for boxing fans. He is arguably the second biggest star in boxing behind Canelo Alvarez.
Originally, Joshua was supposed to fight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller. But Miller was suspended in April due to failed drug tests, which allowed Ruiz a golden opportunity to step in as a replacement and fight to become champion of the world.
Despite the change in his opponent, Joshua is laser-focused on making an imprint on MSG’s history.
“Ruiz is a different kind of challenge but one I embrace,” said Joshua via Reuters. “We have worked in the boxing gym week on week and whomever is put in front of me at Madison Square Garden on June 1 will be dispatched in style. The rent will be collected.”
It’s not a shock that Joshua chose to have his first fight in the U.S at Madison Square Garden. After all, it is still the Mecca of boxing with a hallowed history.
#40days is going to show a behind-the-scenes look leading up to the #JoshuaRuiz heavyweight title fight on @DAZN_USA pic.twitter.com/QToTqRgvK4
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) May 10, 2019
While Joshua, 29, will be looking to showcase his power and skills for the first time on U.S. soil, Ruiz, who is also 29, is looking to make history and become for the first Mexican Heavyweight World Champion.
This is a quick turnaround for Ruiz who last fought on April 20 when he stopped Alexander Dimitrenko in the fifth round. Despite barely having time off from training for his last fight, Ruiz is looking to capitalize on this golden opportunity.
“I’m really excited for this fight,” said Ruiz. “There’s nervousness in me, but they’re happy nerves. This is my chance to make history, I want to be one of those greats like Chavez, Tyson, Holyfield, Lennox Lewis. I want to be in that category. Thanks to God for everything that he put in me, I just can’t wait.”
Ruiz might be excited about the fight, but the odds are stacked against him. Not only is he taking the fight on short notice, but he’s facing a strong and focused champion determined to be great.
The only fighter that has been able to go the distance with Joshua was Joseph Parker in March of 2018. This is why many expect Ruiz to become Joshua’s 22nd knockout victim.
This could be a toe-to-toe slugfest with a dominant fighter and a challenger with everything to gain. We could see one fighter enhance his legacy or watch another score one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history.