Anthony Joshua 22-1 (21) will has his work cut out for him to defeat Andy Ruiz Jr 33-1 (22) in their immediate rematch in Saudi Arabia this Saturday night, according to trainer Virgil Hunter.
Ruiz Jr, 30, wrested the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles from Joshua by seventh-round knockout at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June.
Hunter, perhaps best known for coaching Andre Ward throughout his undefeated career to world championships in two weight classes, isn’t convinced a single training camp can fix the flaws the 30-year-old Brit showed in their first fight.
“If Joshua doesn’t make the right adjustments and they don’t have the right game plan, I can see the same thing happening,” said Hunter to Fighthub.
“The way that fight went down, Ruiz is bad for Joshua from A to Z. And somewhere between P, Q, R, Joshua is going to have to have some answers.
“His game plan is going to have to be in place right now. He should have the right people in camp, and he should have had a lot of situational sparring.
“There’s a lot of things that happened in that fight where I don’t think one camp can correct and if Ruiz is in shape and if he’s motivated, Ruiz is a bad boy.
“To me, he’s the perfect heavyweight at 6’1″, 6’2″. Hand speed and a volume puncher. His style is not good for Joshua.”
The key to victory for Joshua is to keep the fight at range and land some damaging shots early in the contest to keep Ruiz Jr guessing.
“I think Joshua is going to have to find a way to keep him at the end of his punch and hurt him early and make him respect him and be ready for those assaults,” continued Hunter.
“He’s going to have to be ready. Right now, I could see it going the same way if Joshua doesn’t change a lot of things.
“If you can keep Andy at the end of the punch, keep him guessing and hurt him early. He’s going to be in any fight he’s in. You’re not going to be able to walk over Andy Ruiz. You’re going to have to prove it to him. He’s not an easy guy to fight because of his skill level.”
Hunter also believes Ruiz Jr could cause WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 42-0-1 (41) all sorts of problems but cautioned the ‘Bronze Bomber’ can always turn a fight on a dime.
“If he understands how to fight Wilder and can get to Wilder early, he can cause him problems,” Hunter said.
“But at the back of his mind, you’re always wonder, ‘when is his eraser going to come?’ So that can change a fighter’s mindset, knowing that when you get in the ring, ‘this guy can put my lights out with one shot.’ It always stays with you at the back of your mind.”
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