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Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr (June 1)

Anthony Joshua’s first professional fight in the United States has not gone smoothly so far. The unbeaten heavyweight champion of the world had been scheduled to defend his crown against Jarrell Miller, but that fight had to be scrapped when ‘Big Baby’ failed a drugs test and was refused a licence to fight at Madison Square Garden. That left AJ’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, scrambling for a replacement, and it was former heavyweight title challenger Andy Ruiz Jr who signed on the dotted line.

The 29-year-old Californian has compiled a 32-1 record in his professional career but there are very few notable names on his CV. His most high profile win was a unanimous decision victory over a washed up Kevin Johnson in July 2018, but that earns little in the way of plaudits when you consider Joshua had taken out the former world title contender inside two rounds two years earlier.

The other notable name on Ruiz Jr’s record is Joseph Parker – who suffered decision defeats to both Joshua and Dillian Whyte in 2018. The two men met for the vacant WBO title in December 2016 and Ruiz Jr made a fast start to the contest, but he faded in the middle portion and was unable to claw it back in the final few rounds as he dropped a Majority Decision defeat to the New Zealander. So can he really go one better to dethrone Joshua? Ruiz Jr insists he can.

“He's a champion of the world,” Ruiz Jr told Sky Sports. “There's nothing that I can say bad about him, besides that he's big but you know what, I'm big too and it doesn't really matter how big you are in this game. I'm a big fighter, a combination fighter, so I'm here to win. A lot of people underestimate me – the way that I look, my appearance, but as soon as they see me throw punches... I'm going to pull out the upset! Anthony, don't underestimate this little fat boy!”

Joshua, of course, completely disagrees, but he has prepared himself for a very different fight to the one he was expecting to be involved in against original opponent Miller.

“Ruiz and Miller are very different,” he told reporters. “Ruiz is more selective with his punches, he punches with a bit more intent. I feel Miller would walk you down with the intent to tire you out and do things you're not naturally good at. Ruiz will be more of a technical boxing match. If I can't take his punch power, or he can't take mine, then it will be the first who lands, because we punch with intent. And if we can take each other's power, it will be the first one to tire.”

I do consider Ruiz Jr and upgrade from Miller, but I do expect the fight to end in the exact same way Joshua-Miller would have ended, with the challenger being stopped inside the 12 rounds. It will play out differently though.

Ruiz Jr will look to constantly apply pressure as Joshua gets to grips with facing a smaller opponent who, despite his poor physique, has got decent movement and very quick hands for a heavyweight. But the danger with chasing Joshua down is that it only takes one big shot to switch off the lights and the champion could uncork one at any time. Ruiz Jr may make it a little uncomfortable for AJ early on, but ultimately the champion will settle in, start landing those powerful punches and take out the challenger before the end of the sixth round. Then everybody can get back to demanding Joshua v Wilder and Joshua v Fury!

Gennady Golovkin v Steve Rolls (June 8)

Once considered an unstoppable monster, Gennady Golovkin returns to the ring on June 8 looking to record only his second victory in two years. Having gone to a split decision draw with Canelo Alvarez back in September 2017, GGG suffered the first defeat of his professional career one year later when the judges handed Alvarez a majority decision victory after another 12-round affair.

A trilogy fight looked set to happen when Golden Boy promotions began negotiations and booked the T-Mobile Arena for Cinco De Mayo weekend, but president Eric Gomez revealed in mid-January that talks had broken down with Golovkin and that he would not be Alvarez’s next opponent.

Alvarez moved on to face Daniel Jacobs while Golovkin was left looking for a new opponent, and it was a major shock when it was announced who the Kazakhstani fighter would be facing on June 8.

The former unified middleweight champion had claimed he was no longer interested in adding more titles to his glittering CV, instead claiming he just wanted to fight the best middleweights in order to prove he was the true number one at that weight.

“The idea is to not have all of the belts possible, but to be the best [middleweight],” told reporters. “People sometimes mistake fighters with the belts as being the best.”
So what happened next?

Well, GGG agreed to take on an unbeaten fighter in his 41st professional outing – which would suggest something of a challenge. However, in this instance it was not a choice that did not go down well with fight fans because his opponent on June 8 will be Steve Rolls. Steve who, you ask? Exactly! In fact, that was pretty much Golovkin’s reaction when reporters asked him what the 35-year-old Canadian would bring to the table at Madison Square Garden.

“I don't know right now,” Golovkin told reporters when asked if he knew much about Rolls’ in-ring skills. “It's not funny. This is dangerous for me.”

Dangerous… really? Let’s be brutally honest here – this is a keep-busy type of fight designed to keep Golovkin active before the inevitable trilogy fight with Canelo Alvarez. And when I say ‘keep-busy’, I mean stay busy training in the gym because I don’t expect GGG to be that busy when he steps inside the ring with Rolls on June 8.

Rolls may be unbeaten, but he has only had 19 professional fights and in that time he has fought absolutely nobody with any real recognition – and I mean nobody! Better fighters than him have been blown out by Golovkin in short order, so when it comes to his hopes of winning this fight, slim has just left town and left nothing behind.

GGG did split with long-time trainer Abel Sanchez earlier this year and to say it was an ugly split would be an understatement, but the former champion has moved on and he is now working with Johnathan Banks. Golovkin has suggested the move was made because he wants to “fight more”, suggesting he is going to come out all guns blazing on June 8. That should be a terrifying prospect if you are associated with or are a fan of Rolls.

GGG destroyed Vanes Martirosyan almost one year ago and we could see similar scenes here as he makes light work of his 41st opponent.

Tyson Fury v Tom Schwarz (June 15)

Tyson Fury may not have become world heavyweight champion for the second time last December, but he did ensure that he would never be forgotten. Fury dominated and outclassed unbeaten WBC champion Deontay Wilder for much of their fight in Los Angeles, but he was dropped twice in the contest and the second time he hit the canvas, in the 12th round, the watching world thought the fight was over. However, he miraculously got back to his feet in scenes that will be replayed for a long, long time to come, and having completed the contest may felt he could overcome the knockdowns to win on the scorecards, such had been his dominance.

However, the judges inexplicably rendered the fight a draw and there were calls for an immediate rematch between the pair, which many expected to happen in the first half of 2019. The WBC agreed with pundits, fighters and fans and quickly sanctioned a second showdown between the pair, but Fury shocked the boxing world when he announced that his next fight would not be against ‘The Bronze Bomber’. Instead he would be taking on unbeaten German heavyweight Tom Schwarz – an announcement that was greeted with one question. ‘Who?’

Fight fans were disgusted. Schwarz may have compiled an unbeaten 24-0 record since turning professional back in June 2013, but during this time he has fought nobody of note. The only name that immediately leaps off the page is Konstantin Airich and that is not for good reasons – he has a 23-18-2 record and has been knocked out by the likes of Anthony Joshua, Manuel Charr and Robert Helenius.

So why is Schwarz suddenly being thrust into the spotlight to face a former world heavyweight champion who dethroned the great Wladmir Klitschko? His trainer, Ben Davison, has previously claimed it was because they wanted their man to continue fighting ‘big’ opponents to prepare him for future meetings with Wilder and Anthony Joshua.

“A few names got sent across and we had a look”, he told iFL TV back in March. “We don’t want to make the adjustment of somebody big to somebody small to have to go back to somebody big, because the other two elite fighters (Joshua and Wilder) that we’re looking to make fights with are obviously 6ft 6in plus.”

Davison went on to claim that several better known opponents were tied up before defending the decision to go with Schwarz, insisting his ranking was tanked after the fight was announced.

“Tom Schwarz is number two with the WBO and also number nine with the IBF - so he’s ranked in the top 10 with the two organisations,” Davison continued. “When the fight got sent to us as well he was ranked number 11 on BoxRec, but all of a sudden that got changed [Schwarz dropped down the rankings considerably]. We’re not trying to make a career off of avoiding the big guns because Tyson is the one who jumped up and took the fight with Wilder, when really he shouldn’t have.”

While some will question the validity of Davison’s claims, he was right about one thing. Fury took the Wilder fight far too early. The 30-year-old raised eyebrows when he agreed to challenge the unbeaten heavyweight champion last year because he had only had a couple of easy fights since returning from a two-plus year absence from the ring. Perhaps Fury’s team believe he needs to get more rounds in the bank before he makes another attempt at dethroning ‘The Bronze Bomber’, and if that is a case I suggest not backing a quickfire finish here.

Fury showed in his August 2018 fight with the completely outmatched Francesco Pianeta that his ego will not get in the way of what his team are trying to achieve – on that night he went the distance with the Italian when, in all reality, he could have knocked him out if he wanted too. I do see fairly similar scenes happening here, but Fury will want to make a statement in his Vegas bow so I believe he will toy with Schwarz during the first half of the fight, get those rounds in the bank and then bring the fight to a close in the second half. Then we can go back to discussing meaningful fights against the likes of Joshua, Wilder and perhaps Dillian Whyte.

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But what offers are available to you right now? Below is's favourite bookmaker welcome offers at this time...


Boxing continues to be a popular sport to bet on and that is because the bookmakers offer no shortage of markets for every major fight as well as big domestic bust-ups. This wide selection of markets gives you the chance to make a healthy profit when betting on boxing, and here are some of the’s favourite boxing betting markets, using the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker world heavyweight title fight as an example…

Method Of Victory

This market is simple – you pick the winner of the market and how they will win the fight. By adding the method of victory on to simply backing a fighter, you give the price a nice shot in the arm. Joshua is as short as 1/12 to win this fight, but having stopped all of his previous 20 opponents you may like his chances of stopping Parker too. Now, odds of 1/3 are not particularly appealing, but you can see from this example that betting on a fighter’s method of victory can give his odds a healthy boost. And when it comes to bouts that are much closer to call, this market offers a great way to make a tidy profit. 

Total Rounds

The Total Rounds market gives punters the chance to bet on how many rounds the fight will or will not last. So, for example, if you believe Joshua will win in the last three rounds you could back Over 8.5 Total Rounds at 11/8, and this bet would still be a winner even if Parker won the fight as long as the bout went at least eight-and-a-half rounds. Alternatively, you may like Joshua’s chances of taking out Parker inside six rounds and Under 6.5 Total Rounds can be backed at Even money. And just like the Overs, this bet would be a winner if Parker won the fight, as long as he stopped Joshua in less than six-and-a-half rounds. This market covers every round from 1.5 Total Rounds to 10.5 Total Rounds so there are plenty of options.

Round Betting

One of the most popular ways to bet on combat sports is to bet on which round the fight will finish, and this market covers every single round in the fight. The odds can be quite lucrative too because you are pinpointing the ending of the bout down to just one round, so if you like Joshua for a 10th round stoppage you could get odds as big as 16/1, but if you believe Parker will get the nod from the judges after the full 12 rounds you could get a price as big as 33/1. If there is a market where you can make a big profit, it is this one.

Round Group Betting

But perhaps betting on a single round in a 12-round fight is not that appealing to you? If it is not, we highly recommend this boxing betting odds market because it lumps together multiple rounds and you can still get good odds. Some bookmakers will group together three rounds at a time, while others will simply split the fight in half to offer Rounds 1-6 and Rounds 7-12. When it comes to choosing a bookmaker it is simply down to how accurate you want to be with your prediction. In his most recent outings Joshua has gone into the second half of the fight so Rounds 7-12 could be tempting at 9/5, but if you want to narrow it down to the last three rounds, 10-12, the price is a much bigger 6/1. There are many options and the bigger the grouping of rounds the shorter the odds will get, but even at the shortest price, you can still make a nice profit with a winning bet.

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