Fans ready for heavyweight mayhem

06 December 2019 | Sports

Namibian boxing fans are hedging their bets ahead of the much-anticipated rematch between heavyweight superstars Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia tomorrow.

Joshua is out for revenge after his surprise defeat by Ruiz on 1 June, which sent the boxing world into a frenzy.

The WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight titles are all on the line.

All the titles are currently in the hands of Ruiz, following his seventh round TKO of Joshua.

Their rematch has evoked similar worldwide attention to the heavyweight battles of old between legends Mike Tyson, Lenox Lewis and Evander Holyfield many years ago.

For many years, boxing enthusiasts have been yearning for top heavyweight matchups, but bouts of recent times have seldom lived up to expectations.

“It is hard to predict a heavyweight fight, because any punch that lands nicely is a knockout punch. I will, however, gamble on Joshua to win this fight, because it will be good for boxing in general.

“He just has to remain focused and keep his distance,” local promoter and trainer Nestor 'Sunshine' Tobias said.

Tobias is, however, adamant that the biggest fight on heavyweight scene in recent times will be a potential battle between Joshua and Deontay Wilder.

“Yes it is a big fight, but a victory for Joshua could probably set up one of the biggest fights in heavyweight history against Deontay Wilder.

“I believe that all boxing enthusiasts want to witness such a fight in their lifetime,” Tobias added.

In their previous fight at Madison Square Garden, Joshua suffered four knockdowns before being stopped by Mexican-American, Ruiz.

It was one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, as many of the bookmakers had favoured Joshua to win the fight. Ruiz, however, delivered the performance of his life.

This time around, many still feel that Joshua is again the favourite.

Boxing promoter and former boxer Risto Ashikoto said he expects a close fight, but believes Joshua will win.

“It is a very difficult one to predict, but I go for Joshua, and I believe he will win by knockout in the fourth or fifth round.

“I have been following his training camp and I have seen an improvement on his footwork and focus,” Ashikoto said.

Ashikoto, however, fears that Ruiz could have a physiological advantage. Ruiz, who has a record of 33 wins (22 by knockout) and only one defeat in 34 professional fights, comes into the fight ready to silence Joshua once and for all.

Boxing fan Wayne Stevens feels that Joshua will be in a class of his own this time around and Ruiz will likely face the music.

“It is going to be a nice fight and I just feel like Joshua will come back a better boxer than he was when the two last met.

“It was the most shocking day for many who witnessed Ruiz stopping Joshua, as not many expected a plump boxer to beat Joshua.

“I am, however, confident that the man from Britain will deliver on the day, because he looks better and has been training better,” Stevens said.

Joshua boasts a record of 22 wins (21 by knockout) and only one defeat in his professional boxing career.

There are, however, some who feel Joshua will be handed a second defeat tomorrow.

“There is no doubt that Joshua will lose this fight, even if many people think that he can redeem himself.

“The only thing I am worried about is the fact that Ruiz has lost some weight, and that could be costly, because he should have come into the fight with the same weight.

“He is, however, a good boxer with a never say die attitude and that is what makes him so dangerous,” boxing fan Thomas Kandjimi said.

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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