Diriyah Diary

Cover posters courtesy of The Ring magazine.

Friday 6th December

The Mexican Champion Andy Ruiz Jr makes it to the podium

It was not your average weigh-in.

At 4:30pm local time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia the Heavyweight Champion of the World, or at least the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO versions of it, came to the podium sporting his Mariachi sombrero. Oozing supreme confidence with his entourage and waving the Mexican tricolour, little did we know how much pain those scales would take.

As the sun beat down in front of a multicultural audience on this Matchroom Boxing promotion those scales would tip 283.7 lbs (20st 3lbs). Ouch ! A full 15lbs heavier than their June meeting.

Meanwhile former champion and challenger Anthony Joshua came in a lean 237lbs (16st 13lbs) sporting a pair of headphones. This, the lightest he’s been since 2014. Clear evidence that he’s had a good training camp. For the record a 10lb drop since his defeat.

But, is this going to matter ? Ruiz will again be the heavier of the two, but for sure his hands won’t be slower.

So, for the Brit to win this fight he must take the Mexican champion into the deep waters of rounds 8 thru 12. Yes, come to fight….if the opportunity comes in the opening rounds then take it, but; don’t come out with a loose guard, recklessly seeking an early KO. Speed kills (figuratively speaking) especially in a boxing ring. Learn the lessons from the first fight AJ and you give yourself the best chance.

Your editor has picked Ruiz to win for the six months leading into this fight. Telling all who asked, to their disappointment. “He (AJ) will win won’t he ?” Well……this is how it goes.

But; tonight amongst the splendour and hospitality on the lawns outside the Al Faisaliah Hotel, with the canapés and soft drinks for press, and hearing the Brits chanting AJ’s name I might just be starting to think he might well do it !

It may be speed that can win the fight, but if the hunger is gone, then a fighter is not what he was. James ‘Buster’ Douglas knows a story about that.

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