NEW YORK (AP) — Andy Ruiz Jr. will look to become Mexico’s first heavyweight champion after replacing Jarrell Miller as the opponent for unbeaten WBA, IBF and WBO titleholder Anthony Joshua.
Miller was withdrawn from the June 1 fight at Madison Square Garden after doping violations.
The 29-year-old Ruiz Jr., who is based in California, gets his second shot at a world title, having lost on points to then-WBO champion Joseph Parker in December 2016.
That is his only loss in 33 professional fights. His last fight was 10 days ago, when he forced the fifth-round stoppage of Alexander Dimitrenko.
Joshua has a 22-0 record, with 21 knockouts. He hasn’t fought since beating Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium in September, and is boxing for the first time in the United States.
“Similar styles, big and strong, very good with his punch selection and it’s still going to go ahead at MSG on June 1,” Joshua said of Ruiz Jr.
“This is the next best shot — who else is there? If anyone could name anyone who was better, then I was all ears. But when we looked at the scope of who was available, this was the next best one.”
Ruiz said Joshua’s fighting style was “like a robot.”
“I think with my style, my speed, my movement, I don’t think he’s fought anybody like me,” Ruiz Jr. said. “When I do pull out this win, everything is going to change. It’s going to mean everything.”
Joshua also has called for more stringent regulations for boxers who fail doping tests, saying the “random six-month ban” handed to Miller isn’t enough of a deterrent.
“If I carry a weapon of destruction, I’m going to get a certain amount of time in jail, so you know (the consequences of what will happen),” Joshua told Britain’s Press Association from his training base in Sheffield, England. “It’s like, ‘Why did he only get six months?’ It should be, ‘Miller’s definitely getting this.’ That’s my opinion on it.”