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Andy Ruiz Jr to replace Jarrell Miller for heavyweight world-title clash with Joshua

Ruiz’s sole career defeat came against former ‘AJ’ opponent Joseph Parker in a majority decision.

ANDY RUIZ JR will challenge Anthony Joshua for his three heavyweight world titles at Madison Square Garden on 1 June.

The California-based Mexian brings to the ring a record of 32-1 with 21 KOs, and will replace Brooklyn’s Jarrell Miller as Joshua’s opponent after ‘Big Baby’ failed three drug tests and was denied a licence by the New York State Athletic Commission.

Ruiz fought just 10 days ago in Carson, California, stopping the 41-4 Alexander Dimitrenko on his stool after five rounds.

His sole career defeat was a majority-decision to then-WBO world champion Joseph Parker, who Joshua has since relieved of his title.

The 29-year-old would become Mexico’s first-ever heavyweight world champion were he to be successful against heavy favourite Joshua at Manhattan’s ‘Mecca of Boxing’ this time next month.

“The chills – 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 [Julio Cesar] Chavez, [Mike] Tyson, [Evander] 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.

“I think the fight is going toe-to-toe, two guys smashing each other’s faces. I’m going in there to throw combinations like I’ve never done before, to improve my speed. A lot of people underestimated me, and I’m used to that. My whole life people underrated me so I’m just going in there to take all. I’m not going in there scared and I’m not going in there nervous, I’m going to go in there mad and to take what’s mine.

I think being so tall he fights like a big robot. I think with my style, my speed, my movement, I don’t think he’s fought anybody like me. It’s going to be a whole different ball game. All the guys that he’s fought, they usually run around from him. I don’t think he’s good going back. I’m going to bring the pressure, the speed, and the combinations to him.

“When I do pull out this win, everything is going to change. I’m going to bring the titles back to Mexico, it’s going to mean everything. I’m going to be able to change my whole family’s lives; my life and all my kids. It’s a win-win situation right now, but the main thing is to win the fight and make history.”

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Anthony Joshua File Photo WBA, IBF and WBO World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Source: John Walton

“Ruiz is a different kind of challenge but one I embrace,” said champion Joshua.

We have worked in the boxing gym week on week and whomever is put in front of me at Madison Square Garden on 1 June will be dispatched in style. The rent will be collected.

“After a tricky week I am delighted to announce Andy Ruiz Jr. as AJ’s opponent for his US debut at MSG on 1 June,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “People talk about fighting ‘AJ’, some even have to fill their bodies with PEDs to try and beat him up, but very few genuine fighters step up and take the challenge.

“When we selected the opponent, I wanted someone with fire in their heart, someone who genuinely believed that they can win and become World Heavyweight champion. Andy showed that desire.”

Ireland’s Katie Taylor will feature as the chief support to Joshua’s US debut when she faces rival Delfine Persoon for the undisputed lightweight title.

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It’s on: Katie Taylor lands dream fight with rival Persoon for undisputed lightweight championship

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