Anthony Joshua Looks Beyond Ruiz Rematch

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Anthony Joshua issued another broad hint that he will spare the fireworks in favour of a functional win when he embarks on his rematch with Andy Ruiz on Saturday.

Joshua has appeared considerably more slender in Saudi Arabia than he was when he suffered a monumental upset loss against Ruiz in New York on June 1.

That first fight developed into a thriller with Ruiz dropping Joshua four times before the seventh-round stoppage and the Brit flooring his opponent once – but all indications this time suggest Joshua will strike and move as he attempts to regain his IBF, WBA and WBO titles.

It could make for a lesser spectacle but Joshua, in their final press conference on Wednesday, said: ‘I’m not here to put on a show, I’m just here to win.’

He added: ‘It is interesting being on this side of the table. In my 16th fight I challenged and I challenged for a title against Wladimir Klitschko and I challenged against Alexander Povetkin. It is my fourth title challenge in a short space of time. I am used to this. You need to have a challenger mindset. I had that when I had the belts around my waist and I have it now.

‘I have been boxing a while now. When I came in I didn’t come to take part – I came to take over, full force, fully committed. I never had the chance to reflect on all that. Olympic title, European, world – boom, boom, boom.

Looking at Ruiz, who has come in a shade a lighter than the 19st he weighed for the first fight, Joshua said: ‘Andy and I are very different. But we have time in common. As soon as I got back from New York I didn’t lose any heart or fire and I started punching the heavy bag at Finchley and looking forward to this chance.

‘I was asked if winning would be special but I said no because I know I belong there. When I regain those belts I will stay cool and keep my focus and keep that challenger mindset for the next one. Ruiz is just my next target.’

On fighting in Saudi Arabia, which has drawn vocal opposition, Joshua bizarrely said: ‘It is the Mecca of boxing. The real Mecca of boxing. We have put together a great undercard, great venue, perfectly designed, I said my prayers and I want everyone to feel the confidence I feel.’

Ruiz, in a New York Knicks jersey, was calm. He said: ‘It has been a long three months in camp. I made history and the important thing is to do it again.

‘There is not much to say other than I am ready to rock and roll. He is motivated and that has given me an edge. He has lost weight and will box around but I am ready for anything that comes my way.

‘I don’t want to let these beautiful belts go away. I have been doing this since I was six and it is finally paying off so I am going to die trying. I no way I am going to let these go.’