Andy Ruiz Jr. has Anthony Joshua's weaknesses all figured out, Deontay Wilder says.
“I really do think he has his number,” Wilder told Business Insider in November.
Wilder and Ruiz Jr. know each other well as they are both affiliated with the Las Vegas-based televised events firm Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).
One week before Wilder came from behind to knock out Luis Ortiz with a spectacular finish last month, he told Business Insider that he expects his PBC stablemate Ruiz Jr. to score a second successive victory over Joshua on Saturday.
Ruiz Jr. beat Joshua in a June 1 shocker in New York City, dropping the British heavyweight four times en route to a humiliating defeat that was supposed to introduce the previously unbeaten Joshua to the American market as a dominant champion in the division.
Instead, it coronated a new king as Ruiz Jr. wrested the WBA, WBO, and IBF world titles away from Joshua's waist — honors he still owns to this day.
Attempting to explain the defeat, Joshua said Ruiz Jr. caught him with a “lucky punch” that was “sent from the Gods,” according to Sky Sports.
The WBC heavyweight champion Wilder laughed when Business Insider reminded him of Joshua's remark recently.
“There's no way [Ruiz Jr.] can be a lucky puncher,” he said. “This man landed multiple times, that's a lot of lucky punches.”
The hard-hitting American said that Joshua's reliance on a sports psychologist and the apparent backstage panic attacks that had been denied by the fighter's promoter Eddie Hearn “play a factor” in the mindset going into the rematch which will be held at a purpose-built stadium in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia this weekend.
“We're in a dangerous sport,” Wilder said. “Somebody's gonna get knocked out and you just hope it's not gonna be you.”
Ultimately, he expects Ruiz Jr. to repeat the result of the first fight. “I'm telling you, from a fighter's point of view, when you're knocking a guy down like that multiple times, you know what to expect and know what to do the second time.
“Try and do the same thing you did the first time, the second time,” Wilder said. “You've figured out his weaknesses.”