Former European heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison has aired his views on the forthcoming Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua rematch.
Harrison, retired losing to Deontay Wilder in 2013, has been a keen follower of the top division since then.
Joshua is a big favorite to gain revenge with the UK oddsmakers, although US Bookies have Ruiz at shorter odds to repeat his feat of June 1.
Mexico’s first 200 pounds plus ruler dropped Joshua four times at Madison Square Garden as the Briton lost for the first time.
‘A-Force’ believes AJ can come again if he deploys the correct tactics when the pair collide on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.
“It could go either way. Ruiz will be full of confidence. He has lost weight so will be quicker. Ruiz will be looking to open Joshua up like he did in the first fight,” prediction Harrison.
“Joshua’s gameplan this time will be more about keeping the distance. Using his jab, tying him up when he gets in close.
“Anthony Joshua will hurt him like he did in the first fight. But he can’t get too excited and look to finish him too early.
!I see Joshua winning this fight as I think Ruiz might be overly confident. That could be his downfall. I think he can pull it off and shock Ruiz this time.”
On how Ruiz was seemingly written off in the first meeting, Harrison added: “I have known about Ruiz for quite a while so when I heard that Joshua is going to fight him, I was surprised as people assumed it would be an easy win.
“I knew his power and technique. In the rematch, Ruiz will know that he can hurt Joshua, and will take confidence from that.
“He will be a much tougher opponent in the rematch, but Anthony Joshua is a smart guy. He knows he made mistakes in that first fight and has had plenty of time to work on them.
“If Joshua can use his distance and power, he will know that he can beat Ruiz up. If I was Joshua, I would keep him at distance and use the right hand to get on top of his opponent.”
Future battles with Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder hang in the balance for Joshua, but Harrison has urged his compatriot not to look too far ahead.
“He can’t be thinking of those fights. This fight against Ruiz is too important for him to look far ahead,” he stated.
“This fight is all he needs to be thinking about. It does not make any sense for him to look past Ruiz right now as this fight paves the way for his next fights after.
“This fight is everything. He needs to put everything on the line for this.”
Reflecting on his own career, and where it all began with Eddie Hearn and Prizefighter, Harrison took time out to praise the promoter on the back of recent criticism.
Hearn’s decision to put a YouTuber fight on Sky Sports and place world champion boxers on the undercard has been panned by boxing critics.
Harrison says his ex-handler deserves a break.
“It all started for Eddie and me with Prizefighter. Since then, he has not looked back,” pointed out the 2000 Olympic champion. “Of course, you want to be loved, but I believe that the fans respect him for what he has done in the boxing world. I know the boxers respect him.
“These boxers are making good money and are in the public eye. You are getting your just rewards with your talent with Eddie.”
Concluding with his thoughts on the YouTuber offering, Harrison said: “KSI did it well in the first fight. He managed to get around him. I thought KSI looked good in that fight.
“I think there will be a lot of head and feet movement. A lot of combination punches. For Logan, it is about the jab and beating him up, getting in close and trying to rough him up.”