Nigerian-born British heavyweight boxer, Anthony Olaseni Olluwafemi Joshua has gained fresh tips on how to get his pound of flesh back on his supplanter, David Ruiz Jnr, when they clash in their rematch on December 7.
Ahead of the much-anticipated decider in the future of Joshua as a world heavyweight of repute, another British boxer, Richard Riakporhe has advised that ‘AJ’ needs to be ‘on point mentally’ if he is to beat Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.
The cruiserweight sparred with Joshua back in 2011 and described him as ‘fast, strong and very intimidating’, but said the man who takes the fight will be the one most mentally prepared, but Ruiz, who stepped in just five-weeks before the fight, shocked the boxing world when he beat ‘AJ’ at Madison Square Garden and took his heavyweight titles back on June 1.
Speaking of the rematch, Riakporhe said Joshua has the necessary skills to reclaim his titles, but when a boxer like Ruiz gets at you, it takes a lot to overcome mentally.
Riakporhe told Yahoo Sport presents Tailgate: “It’s all about who comes on point mentally, that’s going to take that fight, because Joshua has all the attributes to deal with this kind of opponent, we saw him nearly knock him out. It’s one of them ones, when a guy gets at you like the way he did, listen, it takes a lot to overcome mentally.”
Although Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn earlier revealed that the 30-year-old struggled to find sparring partners with styles similar to that of Ruiz ahead of their first fight, he enthused that the situation is different this time out, as everything is now under control.
Hearn told Sky Sports: “Sparring is something we’ve been working at. First time around we only had four weeks, and three weeks of sparring. We found guys but probably not the guys we really wanted. Now the sparring is top class. He is focused and looking great. Eight weeks to go. We’re not interested in looking at Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder or anything else. It’s just about winning one of the biggest heavyweight events of all time.”
Meanwhile, Joshua will go toe-to-toe in the ring with fellow-Brit, Dereck Chisora, but it will not be on a competitive note, as they will only enter the ring on opposing end for training drills and [practice.
Reports out of Great Britain indicate that Joshua is stepping up his training towards his December 7 rematch with Andy Ruiz Jnr, hence his decision to pick Zambia-born Chisora as the man to beef up his physical edge, as he and Chisora will now spar with each other, in what they both regard as the ideal preparation for their respective forthcoming heavyweight spectaculars.
The report comes on the day Joshua clocked 30, and the boxing world celebrated with the 2012 London Olympic gold medalist and muscular pugilist, who is in search of redemption against Ruiz in the upcoming bout tagged Battle of The Dunes.
The development also comes three years after Chisora was offered £750,000 to meet Joshua in a title fight, but the deal was stalled after ‘Del Boy’ demanded a 50-50 split of all revenues, few months after the then champion earned around £5m for the victory over Dillian Whyte that saw him win the British heavyweight title to go with his Commonwealth belt.
Chisora wanted a slice of the action, but Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn offered the ex-British, Commonwealth and European champ around £750,000, but that was snubbed, and he instead chose to fight former world heavyweight title challenger, Kubrat Pulev for the vacant European heavyweight title – and a purse of around £100,000.
Although many top boxers hardly clash as sparring partners before big fights, but Chisora and ‘AJ’ are breaking with tradition, as the two Brits see each other as the perfect mock-combatants for their imminent battles.
The shorter and all-action Chisora will prepare Joshua for his world heavyweight title rematch against the similarly built Ruiz in Saudi Arabia, while his new partner will use the Nigerian-born former champ as the ideal duplicate of the tall big punching David Price he is scheduled to face at London’s O2 Arena next Saturday, October 26.
Chisora confirmed his unusual arrangement with Joshua, saying: “I am going to see AJ. He has asked me a couple of times but I have been too busy. We will go straight into sparring. He is tall like Price and I am short like Ruiz. I will be going in and out of his training camp in Sheffield.”
In an expert reaction to the development, former world heavyweight champion, David Haye, who is now managing Chisora, declared: “For both of their respective fights they are ideal sparring partners. No-one could mimic Ruiz’s relentless come-forward presser like Derek will. And if anyone can reproduce Price’s long-range jab and move style it’s AJ. ‘