Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) has revealed he will need to box a smarter fight against late replacement Andy Ruiz Jr 32-1 (21) than he would have had to against original opponent Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller 23-0-1 (20).
The IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titleholder, who will make his US debut against Ruiz Jr at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 1 after original opponent Miller failed a drugs test, admitted he has had to change his preparation to accommodate the new challenger.
“Obviously with Miller he was 300lbs, his punch output was very high as well – so what I tried to do was adapt my training in terms of size and punch output and what I was going to do to someone that comes forward all the time,” Joshua told Sky Sports News.
“Ruiz doesn’t weigh as much, he is a lot quicker than Miller and I think he uses punch variety and punch selection a lot better than Miller does.
“His punch output is a lot lower but he is more accurate with his punches. I have to be better with my defence, a lot tighter and be smarter against someone like Ruiz.
“Even though he is not as big and doesn’t work as hard to a certain degree, he is a lot smarter.”
Joshua said the change of opponent won’t impact his performance on the night.
“It’s fine. The good thing is when you don’t take your eye off the prize and you prepare for things like this, it isn’t an issue,” he said.
“When you don’t prepare for things like this, then it becomes a distraction.”
In his last fight in September, Joshua knocked out veteran contender Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds at Wembley Stadium in London.
Ruiz Jr is coming off a stoppage victory of Alexander Dimitrenko in April.