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01st May 2019

Anthony Joshua’s June 1st opponent confirmed as Andy Ruiz Jr.

The show must go on

Darragh Murphy

The show must go on for Anthony Joshua

After original opponent Jarrell Miller was denied a licence for his scheduled fight with Anthony Joshua on June 1st due to multiple failed drug tests, promoter Eddie Hearn has been working tirelessly to find a replacement opponent to make sure that he would not be forced to cancel the show at Madison Square Garden.

A six-man shortlist was drawn up and after a dispute with Luis Ortiz, the ‘AJ’ camp arrived at Andy Ruiz Jr. as the best option available for Joshua’s next title defence.

Ruiz Jr. has fought for a world title once before, dropping a majority decision to Joseph Parker when the pair fought for the then-vacant WBO heavyweight belt in 2016.

The defeat to Parker remains the only one in the career of Ruiz Jr., who has finished 21 of his 32 victories inside the distance.

Ruiz Jr. was confirmed as Joshua’s new opponent on Wednesday morning, giving Joshua exactly a month to adapt his preparations for his next outing.

“Ruiz Jr. is a different kind of challenge but one I embrace,” said Anthony Joshua. “We have worked in the boxing gym week on week and whoever is put in front of me at Madison Square Garden on June 1 will be dispatched in style. The rent will be collected.”

Also competing in New York City next month will be Katie Taylor, the Irish boxing sensation who will get the opportunity to become undisputed lightweight champion when she meets WBC champion Delfine Persoon.