I’ve had nearly six months to reflect on that fight in New York and that’s a lot of thinking time.
Andy Ruiz Jr deserves all the credit as he was the better man on the night in the Big Apple, but losing made me understand I had to add something more to my game.
I lost, I have to take that, and now I have got a second chance.
There has been a lot of discussion about that one shot or my previous ‘punch from the gods’ comment, which got some criticism. But what I meant to say was that it was just a perfect punch he caught me with, it landed in the right place at the right time while I was being far too trigger happy.
I fully appreciate he’d trained to do that, but I should have defended it. Somehow it got through and, as everyone knows, I couldn’t recover from it.
But there’s been time to reflect, get my head right, get back in the game and boost myself up again.
I’ve just gone back to studying the art of boxing: what it means to me, what I have been doing, what I want out of it, where I am going, everything, really. Now it’s time to retake the heavyweight division. It may have been six months, but fight week has come round quickly. I arrived in Saudi Arabia a week ago, we basically straight lifted my camp from Sheffield and brought everything here to fine tune those final preparations.
The set-up is perfect and that’s important. I’m training about 15 minutes’ away from my hotel so it gives me a chance to get out and see a little bit of the country while keeping everything very simple. The reception I got when I landed was great and I feel the people here have really embraced the sport.
The training camp started as long ago as on June 20, in fact I actually stayed in the gym straight after the New York defeat. I started sparring much earlier in this camp, all part of making the emphasis for the rematch more on the sport of boxing itself.
I have been studying, watching videos and old fights, improving my tactical awareness, and recalling the art of boxing because this is not just a fight in a pub car park, I’ve had to make sure I’ve done my due diligence.
Just days away, there is fire in my belly and I have prepared myself this time knowing fully what I am walking into. People have talked about the scale of the event, but my plan is to totally step away from that and think solely that this is my chance to win back the heavyweight championship of the world. This is a big project and this is the nuts-and-bolts work for me.
Post fight, I’ll be able to reflect on everything and the magnitude of the event, but I am here to do a job and I am fully focused on one goal. People ask me if I am nervous, but I am not in the least bit nervous, just confident.
It’s my time to right my wrongs, to reinvent myself mentally. I’ve always been a fighter in my heart and there has never been a doubt in that.