BBN's resident betting expert Jordan Neild takes a look into the betting odds for the biggest fight of the year:
The most eagerly anticipated fight of the year is almost upon us. Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua clash this weekend for the WBA, WBO & IBF heavyweight titles. The fight will be the first heavyweight title fight to ever take place in Saudi Arabia and has been built into one of the biggest rematches in boxing history.
The fight lands almost six months, to the day, of their first encounter in New York. On that night, unheralded Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr upset all the odds with a seventh-round stoppage of Anthony Joshua and completely changed the landscape of the heavyweight division. Anthony Joshua was a heavy (1/33) favourite six months ago and he will walk to the ring the favourite this time around also (4/9) with Ruiz priced around (21/10), much to the surprise of many fans and pundits.
From a betting perspective, the fight is very hard to break down. Due to the magnitude of the event, there are so many opinions and theories flying around about how the fight could play out. For Ruiz backers, there is obvious value in taking his price as the underdog and, in truth, Joshua will have to improve dramatically to come through this fight successfully.
That said, it is hard to suggest that the Joshua we witnessed in June was a true reflection of him. Up to that point, he had not done much wrong as a professional and from the opening bell, it didn’t take much to realise that there was something not quite right with him.
Joshua has trimmed down significantly for this rematch coming in at 16st 13lbs, whilst Ruiz weighed in at over a stone heavier than the first fight at just over 20 stone. As we learnt six months ago, physiques do not win fights but it seems clear that Joshua will look to be slightly more elusive, while Ruiz will be looking to make the extra weight count.
Taking everything into account, Joshua may well draw on the boxing ability that landed him an Olympic gold medal in 2012 and look to beat Andy Ruiz Jr, over the 12-round distance. Both men have covered the distance in their careers and despite Andy Ruiz taking Joshua out spectacularly the first time around, don’t be surprised to see the Mexican champion give Joshua a lot of respect and box patiently, especially early on in the fight. There is so much riding on this fight for the winner and loser and it could well be a very tense, close fought affair.
At the prices, the best bet for us is, Anthony Joshua to win on points @ 4/1
The card looks extremely fan-friendly with four of the fights being in blue-ribbon heavyweight division. Acting as the chief support, former world champion Alexander Povetkin takes on Michael Hunter.
The fight is a very interesting one, Povetkin has seen everything the heavyweight division has had to offer over his fifteen-year professional career and his only defeats have come against Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua, two men who have significant physical advantages over him. However, he is approaching his 41st birthday and his best days may be behind him.
Hunter has only one defeat on his record (to undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk) has enjoyed a resurgence since stepping up to heavyweight in 2018 and is coming to the ring on the back of a really good points win over highly regarded Russian, Sergey Kuzmin.
Hunter starts the favourite, due to his recent form but it is hard to write off Alexander Povetkin in a fight like this. He has only lost in the past to huge heavyweights and everyone else put in front of him, he has dealt with. Hunter is not a big heavyweight and wont cause Povetkin problems from a physical stand point. It is quite surprising that Povetkin starts as the underdog and that is something we are happy to take advantage of.
Our bet is Alexander Povetkin to win @ 7/4
Also, on the undercard, Croatian heavyweight sensation Filip Hrgovic takes on veteran Eric Molina in the first major step up of his career. Hrgovic was a stand out amateur and has made steady progress as a professional. He has stopped seven of his first nine opponents and will be looking to make a statement on the undercard of two potential future opponents in Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz.
Molina has fought at a very high level in his career, but in recent years, he has looked a shadow of the fighter he once was. He was destroyed in three rounds by Anthony Joshua in 2016 and has not looked the same fighter since.
This could be a real scalp for Hrgovic and with him looking to make a statement this could be a quick night for the man they call ‘El Animal’. Hrgovic to win in rounds 1-4 looks a very solid bet @ EVENS
One final bet for us is in the fight between Mahammadrasul Majidov and Tom Little. Majidov holds a famous win over Anthony Joshua in the amateur code and heads into his second professional fight here against Britain’s Tom Little.
Little has a record of 10-7, but he is a lot better than the record suggest. Majidov won his first fight but was dropped by his opponent and at 33, he may well have left it to late to be as effective in the professional ranks as he was in the amateurs.
Little was training for a fight that fell through and comes to this fight on the back of a full camp and looked in fairly good shape at the weigh in. He can often be elusive and is a better boxer than his record suggests, and although Majidov may be a couple of levels above, there looks to be a little bit of value in backing Majidov to win on points @ 7/2
ANTHONY JOSHUA TO WIN ON POINTS @ 4/1
ALEXANDER POVETKIN TO WIN OUTRIGHT @ 7/4
HRGOVIC TO WIN IN ROUNDS 1-4 @ EVENS
MAJIDOV TO WIN ON POINTS @ 7/2