Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr: Full Main Card Predictions
Anthony Joshua makes his American debut against title challenger Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden this Saturday. The undisputed heavyweight champion of the world is eager to deliver a powerful performance in the Big Apple.
Matchroom Boxing presents a fight card stacked with British boxing talent. Katie Taylor aims to unify the lightweight division, Callum Smith defends his WBA super-middleweight title and rising prospects Josh Kelly and Joshua Buatsi also feature on the undercard.
Anthony Joshua (22-0) vs Andy Ruiz Jr (32-1)
'The Landlord' has come to collect his rent. After Deontay Wilder's emphatic first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale earlier this month, Joshua will be expected to put on a show for his new audience.
Andy Ruiz Jr stepped up on short notice after Jarrell Miller failed multiple drug tests and Luis Ortiz refused to agree on a deal. Ruiz previously lost a narrow decision defeat to former world champion Joseph Parker in his first title challenge. His best chance will be to try and unsettle Joshua at the start. Although the portly fighter has great hand speed and will attempt to get on the inside with sharp combinations, this will set him up for AJ's savage uppercuts.
Joshua holds a significant 8-inch reach advantage and is 4 inches taller than his opponent. The reigning champion is a huge favorite and will be looking to add to his highlights reel in style. It will be a surprise if Ruiz makes it to the middle rounds.
Pick: Anthony Joshua
Katie Taylor (13-0) vs Delfine Persoon (43-1)
Katie Taylor faces Belgian veteran Delfine Persoon in a lightweight unification clash. The Irish boxing superstar is widely regarded as one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time. Taylor is the overwhelming favorite but her seasoned opponent shouldn't be underestimated.
Persoon is a part-time police officer who is unbeaten in nearly nine years, with 18 of her 43 wins coming via knockout. The orthodox striker is an effective counter-puncher and will likely attempt to catch Taylor off-guard with some powerful punches. However, this will allow Taylor to establish her rhythm and set the pace of the fight, cutting off the ring with stiff jabs to set up her heavy hands.
The Irishwoman is a brilliant pressure fighter and arguably the best female boxer in the world. Taylor is exceptionally talented and will look to pick apart her opponent's weaknesses as the fight progresses. She is more than capable of stopping Persoon in this fight.
Pick: Katie Taylor
Callum Smith (25-0) vs Hassan N'Dam (37-3)
After a long layoff, Callum Smith returns to defend his WBA super-middleweight belt against Hassan N'Dam. Smith is a heavy favorite and should outclass his experienced opponent, providing he shakes off any ring rust. 'Mundo' is regarded by many fans and pundits as the most talented of the legendary Smith boxing brothers.
It's not really a question of how Callum beats N'Dam, but when! The undefeated champion has stopped 18 of his opponents so far, knocking out former champion George Groves in the seventh round of the WBSS final. N'Dam is an obvious underdog but has a solid record of 37-3, last beating British veteran Martin Murray in December 2018. However, Smith has a superior record and crucial championship experience that he should use to his advantage.
The 29-year-old Liverpudlian has been touted as a possible opponent for superstars Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and domestic rival Billy Joe Saunders. If Smith puts in another impressive display, this will surely improve his chances of earning another lucrative payday and more titles.
Pick: Callum Smith
Josh Kelly (9-0) vs Ray Robinson (24-3-1)
The American audience is in for a real treat. 'Pretty Boy' is one of the most exciting British boxers to watch at the moment. The young welterweight has a massive arsenal of slick tricks and will look to dazzle his opponent on his American debut.
Robinson lost to current WBC titleholder Shawn Porter back in 2010. Kelly will utilize his speedy combos and deft footwork to pick apart his tough opponent.
Pick: Josh Kelly
Chris Algieri (23-3) vs Tommy Coyle (25-4)
Fan favorite Tommy Coyle faces American fighter Chris Algieri in an entertaining lightweight duel at MSG. A victory here would give the winner a chance to challenge WBO champion Maurice Hooker next. Hooker is also managed by Eddie Hearn.
Algieri is a former titleholder and a teammate of middleweight Danny Jacobs. He notably outboxed Ruslan Provodnikov whilst being unable to see out of a swollen right eye to claim the WBO title. The 35-year-old will be looking to make an impression on his home turf and is hunting his third consecutive victory after a 2 1⁄2 year layoff. The two fighters are well-matched (both have suffered several losses), although Algieri has a height advantage.
As 'Boom Boom' enters the twilight of his career, he'd love to cause a famous upset. Coyle enters the ring off the back of a three-fight win streak. The Englishman is always game for a scrap and if Algieri is drained by the weight cut Tommy could catch him in the later rounds. However, I think Algieri's fighting experience will allow him to get the job done via unanimous decision.
Pick: Chris Algieri
Joshua Buatsi (10-0) vs Marco Antonio Periban (24-1-1)
Mentored by fellow British boxer AJ, Joshua Buatsi has knocked out 8 of his 10 opponents. Buatsi also won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics. He picks his shots and lands powerful punches with perfect timing. The light-heavyweight prospect remains undefeated and is tipped to meet British rival Anthony Yarde in a future title fight.
Periban has fought on the world stage and faced the likes of Badou Jack and James DeGale. He also previously challenged for the WBC title, narrowly losing to Sakio Bika. Buatsi is just on another level and should dispatch his Mexican opponent with ease.
Pick: Joshua Buatsi