Joshua lighter for Ruiz Jr. heavyweight showdown

Los Angeles (AFP) –


World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua weighed in more than 20 pounds lighter than challenger Andy Ruiz Jr. on Friday as he prepares to make his US debut at Madison Square Garden.

The unbeaten Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, tipped the scales at 247.8 pounds (112.4 kilos) ahead of Saturday's bout against the lightly regarded Ruiz.

Ruiz, who agreed to face Joshua at the 11th hour last month after original opponent Jarrell Miller failed a drug test, weighed in at a chunky 268 pounds.

Joshua, who weighed 246 pounds for his last fight against Alexander Povetkin in September, is an overwhelming favourite to defeat Ruiz, who is 32-1.

Bookmakers are offering odds of 1/20 for Joshua to make Ruiz the 23rd victim of his career.

Ruiz has shrugged off taunts about his physical conditioning, telling reporters this week he was "chubby and short, but fast as lightning."

"I've never been knocked out. I'm still young, 29, I've never been hurt and I've never been in a big war," he said. "This is the hardest fight of my career but I know I will pull off an upset.

"I believe in my heart that we can win, and we are going to win. It will be one of the biggest upsets in the world. I can be the first one to stop him. In America, you have to have a dream, and have the heart to pursue it. I am a family man and a nice guy but, inside the ring, I am an animal. AJ, get ready, get prepared. Don't underestimate or overlook me."

Ruiz Jr is coming off three consecutive victories, defeating Germany's Alexander Dimitrenko in five rounds in his last outing.