Joshua Credits Ruiz’s Combinations & Hand Speed

Anthony Joshua says he’s been focused on his reaction timing and punching speed in preparation for his June 1 unified heavyweight title defense against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua has been watching footage of Ruiz’s fights and gives his upcoming challenger credit for speedy hands and combinations, which Joshua says most of Ruiz’s knockouts have come from. In fact, Joshua claims he even has gone as far as spending less time looking at his phone in order to not harm his hand-eye coordination.

“I feel like it’s the punch you don’t see that hurts. And Ruiz Jr has got speed in both hands,” Joshua said. “So I have got to make sure I work on my reactions — staying off my phone to make sure that my eyes aren’t too tired because I’ve got to stay sharp with my eyes and how I react to these type of punches.”

The sole loss in Ruiz’s career comes from his only previous world title shot — a December 2016 WBO title fight with Joseph Parker that ended with Parker winning a close, disputed majority decision. Ruiz has rebounded by winning three straight, including a win over Alexander Dimitrenko on April 20 — 11 days before he accepted this fight with Joshua.

Ruiz takes this fight on short notice after original challenger Jarrell Miller was forced out after failing a drug test.

“His strengths are his ability to come forward and absorb punishment and avoid punishment, as well,” Joshua said of Ruiz. “Because a come-forward fighter seems to walk into punishment – he doesn’t take too much stick. He can knock guys out so that means he’s heavy-handed. He has the ability to throw combination punches whereas I feel like the European style that I have been taught is ‘jab, one, two, jab, one, two, hook’. But he can throw left hook, right hook, left hook, right hook, uppercut, hook, right hook to the body.

So he’s got many strengths. But one of his many strengths I would say is that he put his name on the dotted line. Where many people didn’t, he did, and that shows me strength in itself.

Original Story: Sky Sports

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