Nigerian-born British heavyweight boxer, Anthony Olaseni Oluwafemi Joshua has exchanged boasts with his supplanter, Andy Ruiz Jnr over who will come out on top in their title rematch billed for December 7 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
With days passing by in quick succession towards D-Day, Joshua and Ruiz met face-to-face for the first time at a public presentation to hype the upcoming bout, during which the Mexican pugilist will try to retain the IBF, WBA and WBO titles he sensationally took from ‘AJ’ on June 1st at Madison Square Garden in New York, USA.
While Ruiz promised that he will repeat history by whipping ‘AJ’ again in Saudi Arabia, Joshua vowed to make amends during the bout in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, which is a huge and dramatic contrast to the iconic Madison Square Garden, venue of the first fight that ended in a seventh-round stoppage.
Ruiz declared about his vision for the upcoming Clash on The Dunes: “I know Anthony Joshua is coming hard, he’s coming strong. He’s preparing hard, but so am I. December 7, I’m going to make another history and I’m going to win here in the same fashion that I won June 1.”
On the other hand, Joshua is boosted with memories of July this year, when another British boxer, Amir Khan won the WBC international welterweight title with a fourth-round stoppage of Australian Billy Dib in Jeddah, such that ‘AJ’ is hoping for a repeat in the same country.
Joshua retorted: “Andy is champion now. That will last until December 7 when he puts his titles in the air. Two warriors to go war and the best man will walk out victorious.”
‘AJ’ added that he has been forced to make “drastic changes” to his lifestyle in a bid to win back the heavyweight titles he lost to Ruiz in June, saying that the magnitude of the loss has forced him to evaluate every aspect of his life as he prepares for the rematch.
Joshua told AFP: “There will be no aftershock after the first fight. I will be smarter. Getting knocked down was good.
“If I am smarter, I know I can pull it off. I don’t want to say it will be ‘Joshua 2.0 – I know what I was doing before was working, I just have to tweak little things and I will be perfect. Losing speeds up that process.
“I have made some drastic changes, lifestyle stuff. Family, circles, what is important, priorities. The effort it takes to stay on the straight and narrow is challenging. I have to understand I am aiming to be a top athlete.
“Boxing was always the easiest part for me. The struggle was always keeping my life in check. If I can do that, the boxing will fall into place.
“There were distractions away from the ring but I never complained. He beat me fair and square, I had those distractions and I now have to make it better for myself.”