World heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, is set for an explosive bout with American Andy Ruiz Jr in New York.
It would be recalled that Joshua was due to face Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden but the American failed drug tests, forcing him out of the Madison Square Garden bout.
California-born Ruiz, 29, has fought for a world title once before and is likely to be confirmed as Joshua’s opponent for his US debut on Tuesday.
Promoter Eddie Hearn says Ruiz will “do anything” to become world champion.
“He will entertain you, give it his all. Even if it means getting sensationally knocked out, he will rather do that than not do it,” Hearn told Fighthype.com.
“I couldn’t afford a guy who I thought may not be good enough or game enough to entertain the fans. I had to pick a guy in my heart who I thought will do everything to become world heavyweight champion at the Garden.”
Ruiz has agreed to terms, leaving only small details to be finalised, with Hearn stating the fight was “close”.
Ruiz defeated Germany’s Alexander Dimitrenko on 20 April, weighing in at 262lbs, which is 17lbs heavier than Joshua in his last win over Alexander Povetkin in September.
Ruiz at 6ft 2in, is four inches shorter than Joshua and will be at a substantial reach disadvantage in the bout.
Ruiz only world title debut till date lost on points to New Zealand’s Joseph Parker, whom Joshua outpointed 15 months later to unify the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles.
On Monday, British heavyweight Dillian Whyte said Ruiz represented “a save-the-show fight”, insisting the challenger would pose no problem for Joshua.
Joshua 29, will end about nine months of inactivity when he steps into the ring and will seek to extend his 22-fight unbeaten record on June 1.
By Olukayode Oniwinde