Joshua vs Ruiz: The Undercard
By Jordan Victor
On June 1st, Anthony Joshua will defend the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles against Mexican contender Andy Ruiz. This bout will be the first of Joshua’s career to take place on US soil, with the British superstar looking to establish his name in the USA.
Much of the attention on the night will be with AJ and Ruiz – as Joshua looks to re-establish his reputation as the best heavyweight in the world. Supporting the main event, will be a great undercard that features a host of world titles, blue-chip prospects and an all-out war between grizzled vets.
Perhaps the biggest fight of them all will be the undisputed female lightweight contest between Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon.
Taylor is one of the biggest names in women’s boxing and the fast-rising Irish star will be looking to implement her name into the history books. As only the third woman to become undisputed champion in history alongside Claressa Shields and Cecilia Braekhaus. The Olympic gold medallist looks set for superstardom and will certainly view this as another step to greatness.
But there is only one problem, the Belgian veteran Delfine Persoon. Persoon holds a record of 43-1 and has been the WBC champion since 2015. Undoubtedly, this will be the toughest test of Taylors career as she faces the most experienced opponent yet. But this will also be a huge opportunity for the Belgian native Persoon as she finally gets the big-name opponent, she has longed for.
Also, on the card we will witness the return of one of Britain’s finest exports. As super-middleweight king Callum Smith returns to defend his WBA super title. This will be a long-awaited comeback for Smith as he looks to build on the momentum of ending the career of George Groves back in September of 2018.The man across the ring from his has yet to be confirmed, although there are strong reports liking the Liverpudlian to a contest with Hassan N’Dam.
N’Dam himself is also coming off one of the bigger wins of his career – a majority decision win over veteran contender Martin Murray. If the bout is to be confirmed it would give Smith, the chance to defeat another former world champion. With N’Dam having held the regular version of the WBA title back in 2015.
The last world title matchup on the card will see another British world champion make his long-awaited return. As Kal Yafai faces mandatory challenger Norbelto Jimenez.
Yafai looks to make the fifth defense of his WBA super-flyweight title since winning the championship back in 2017. The Birmingham fighter has long been in search of the big fights and will certainly be looking to make a statement on June 1st.Yafai will likely look to put on a showcase against the Mexican veteran, with many big fights on the horizon. Especially, with the fact that Yafai will compete on DAZN which recently hosted the sensational WBC title rematch between Rungvisai and Estrada. Expect big things from the Brit in this one.
The world titles end there but the great fights do not. As British boxing veteran Tommy Coyle faces former world champion Chris Algieri. Both fighters are reaching the end of their respective careers and will be looking to go out with a bang.
Coyle has always given the fans exciting fights no matter the opponent, and will look to replicate such form on June 1st. But he will also understand that this could be the last window of opportunity to gain a world title. With Algieri himself being a former world champion who competed against the likes of Amir Khan, Errol Spence and Manny Pacquiao, this fight has the makings of an all-out war for the fans, and could be a genuine contender for fight of the night. As two veterans of the game look to write a storybook ending to their respective careers.
As two careers begin to close, many will open and that is certainly the case with the youngsters on the card. Austin Williams is one of those prospects confirmed as the middleweight hopeful looks to gain the second professional victory of his career.
With the decorated amateur having made his debut back in April at the Forum. Talk about two iconic venues to start your career!
The rise of DAZN does not mean that Eddie Hearn has forgotten about his UK prospects. As two of the finest talents Britain has produced in recent years make their respective US debuts, in the form of light-heavyweight phenom and British champion Joshua Buatsi, and the flamboyant Geordie Josh Kelly.
Both fighters have been tipped for big things and will look to make an impression on the US fans in the hope of securing big fights within the next year.
Josh Kelly has now been scheduled to face US veteran Ray Robinson. Robinson holds a record of 24-3—1 and is known for his gritty and tough fighting style.
Fighting the likes of WBC champion Shawn Porter and former world title challenger Yordenis Ugas along the way. Robinson most recently defeated Breidis Prescott and went to a draw with top-ranked contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Robinson wont be fazed by the challenge of another undefeated fighter, and will certainly represent a steep step-up in competition for the highly-touted Geordie prospect.