Nigerian-born world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Olaseni Oluwafemi Joshua (AJ) will have to be extra careful this weekend, when he defends his quartet of titles against Mexico’s Andy Ruiz Jnr, as the challenger says he is not in any way scared of the holder.
Although Ruiz Jnr had to step in at short notice in place of drug culprit, Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, the stop-gap alternative says he has his own fair share of hefty records, which he wants to successfully lift on Saturday.
Heading into the June 1 bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Ruiz said he has identified Joshua’s weaknesses and will show no respect for the Brit, in what will be the holder’s maiden fight in USA.
Joshua defends the IBF, WBA and WBO belts in his US debut on June 1, ahead of which Ruiz said he plans to “take advantage” of his opportunity of fighting on home soil to cause an upset.
While Ruiz is aiming for an upset, ‘AJ’ wants to remain unbeaten in his 23rd fight, and eighth world title bout.
He has a string of big victories, over Dillian Whyte, Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin, but Ruiz says he is on a better and higher level than all put together.
On the other hand, Ruiz Jr beat Alexander Dimitrenko on April 20 and, although many critics still see him only as the hasty replacement for Miller, he insists he has benefited from an extensive training camp.
Although he has lost just once in 33 fights, when he was beaten by a slim margin on points by Parker in 2016 with the WBO title at stake, Ruiz Jr says he has studied ‘AJ’ well enough, and will take full advantage of the champs’ weakness come Saturday night in The Big Apple.
Ruiz Jr told Sky Sports: “There are weaknesses. He is the best right now because he has the belts.
“The guys he has fought? I’ve sparred with them and they wouldn’t want to fight with me.
“AJ has a style which will make me look impressive. Yes, he’s strong and big. But my style will take away his advantages.
“This is business. I have nothing bad to say about AJ. I am the challenger and he is the champion.
“There is respect between me and him – but inside the ring there will be no respect and I will try to win and knock him out.
“Carlos Takam, Dillian Whyte? I thought: ‘I can do a lot better than those guys.’
“I’m an exciting fighter. People look at me and say: ‘he’s slow, he will get tired’. But I’m a combination fighter.
“I move, I throw punches, I go in to knock out my opponents. Everybody that fights Joshua has fought scared.
“They move around and try not to get hit. But I’m not scared of getting hit. I’m here to get hit, and hit back.
“People like watching me fight because I’m not scared and I bring a fight.”
“I shocked Joseph Parker. I’m pretty sure he didn’t think it would that hard. He thought it would be easy.
“This chubby kid? He thought he would box me around. But when he moved, I moved.
“When he punched, I punched. I really thought I won that fight. 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. 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. I know I’m chubby and short but I’m as fast as lightning!”