Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz 2 fight predictions: What will happen Saturday’s heavyweight rematch?

Briton has a shot at redemption against the Mexican-American in Saudi Arabia, and our team of boxing experts cast their eye over Joshua’s chances of regaining the WBA, WBC and IBO heavyweight titles

Joshua vs Ruiz 2 Press Conference

It was the shock of the year in June when Andy Ruiz Jr rocked Anthony Joshua’s world and wrecked his plans of world domination.

After much squabbling over the purses for the rematch and the location, an agreement has been struck and excitement has built immeasurably.

While never the plan, the loss has magnified a certain vulnerability to Joshua and made this second fight an even more compelling watch.

There are numerous variables to how the second fight will unfold, which will decide where the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles land.

Here, our writers divulge their predictions for the biggest fight of 2019.

Jack Rathborn (boxing writer)

More boxing, less weights. A slimmed-down version of Joshua prepared to move? Lessons will have been learned from the initial fight but I'm not sure the crucial left hook in the third round from Ruiz, which buzzed Joshua and sent him into an uncontrollable downward spiral, was as flukey as many make out. The pressure and high volume, from a low squat is obviously a tricky style for Joshua to handle: see the way Carlos Takam bulldozed him in Cardiff and initial success from Alexander Povetkin at Wembley. I'll stick with the pattern that emerged in New York. It will be easier for Ruiz to replicate his initial performance than Joshua to think clearly and incorporate the numerous tips and tricks that will have crowded his mind in the last six months. His refined strategy could fall apart under the Mexican's pressure, leading to a war breaking out and the champion prevailing by stoppage once again.

Verdict: Ruiz - KO

Adam Hamdani (boxing writer)

This is one of the toughest heavyweight fights to predict for a generation. It's one of the toughest fights to predict full stop. Anthony Joshua will come in slightly lighter in a bid to be both quicker with his feet and his fists - but will that take away the power that makes him so devastating to fight? Andy Ruiz, on the other hand, will too come in lighter but won't face any problems from his trimming down in size. He is the better boxer, the boxer with the higher IQ, the more experienced at both amateur and professional and most importantly, has already beaten Joshua in the ring, just six months ago. He has all the ingredients to truly take Joshua out of the world heavyweight picture. With all that being said, I'm going for Joshua to win by stoppage, he might get knocked down along the way but something tells me his mental state will just be superior to that of Ruiz's and that should carry him to a victory which will finally end this whole sorry episode.

Verdict: Joshua - KO

Tom Kershaw (boxing writer)

Despite Joshua's insistence that Ruiz landed a "punch from the gods" in their first fight, the Brit will undoubtedly be a lot more cautious in shielding himself from Mount Olympus this time around. His game plan should resemble something far closer to when he outpointed Joseph Parker last year, remaining firmly on the outside, using his jab to dictate the pace of the fight and crucially staying out of range of Ruiz's fast, looping punches. If he can sustain that energy and discipline for 12 rounds, it should in theory be a simple blueprint to victory. With Joshua, though, the vulnerabilities are gaping and, if his tank empties like it so often has in the past, there's no doubting Ruiz can and will stop him again. But with virtually everything hanging on the line, I believe Joshua will hang in and grind out an ultimately one-sided decision.

Verdict: Joshua - points

Luke Brown (Boxing writer)

The referee will be key. In Cardiff last year, the fussy Giuseppe Quartarone determinedly refused to allow Joseph Parker to fight on the inside, darting in to the fray whenever the Kiwi dared attempt to tie up or clinch with Anthony Joshua. It worked to the Brit’s advantage. He was able to coast to a thoroughly clinical victory, dominating the fight behind his jab. And the received wisdom has it that Joshua will need to replicate this punch-perfect performance if he is to topple Andy Ruiz. All eyes will therefore be on the Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon in the early stages on Saturday night. If he proves as twitchy as Quartarone, Joshua will grow in confidence. If he does his job, Ruiz will drop Joshua once again, and one of the most celebrated British boxing careers will sink sadly towards its end.​

Verdict: Ruiz - KO

Jack de Menezes (deputy sports editor)

The first bout between these two exposed a weakness that is virtually impossible for Joshua to fix, and all the Briton can do is look to stay out of range of Ruiz’s brain-scrambling hooks. It’s undoubtedly the biggest challenge of Joshua’s career to date and will show us if he is as smart a boxer as he is a physical one. I expect Joshua to try and dip in and out of range, but whether he can achieve that when the gas tank empties remains to be seen. However, if he shows a much-needed maturity to keep at a safe distance, I’d back Joshua to grind his way to a decision.​

Verdict: Joshua - points

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