Joshua, Ruiz ready for ‘Clash on the Dunes’
Anthony Joshua faces the biggest test of his boxing career on Saturday as he attempts to reclaim his world heavyweight crown from Andy Ruiz in a controversial rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Six months after suffering a shock knockout defeat to Ruiz at Madison Square Garden, Joshua will climb back into the ring with Ruiz seeking to win back the IBF, WBA, and WBO titles.
A leaner, meaner Joshua told reporters this week he is “hungry, determined and focused” for a bout that is expected to get under way at around midnight local time (2100 GMT Saturday).
The stakes could not be higher for Joshua, who would face a long road back to the pinnacle of the heavyweight division if he loses a fight being hyped as “Clash on the Dunes.”
Victory, by contrast, would re-establish his credentials in the division, opening the door to money-spinning fights against WBC champion Deontay Wilder or fellow Briton Tyson Fury.
“I am not here to put on a show, I am here to win,” Joshua (22-1, 21 knockouts) said.
Joshua has blamed a “lack of experience” for his defeat to Ruiz in June, when he was knocked down four times en route to a seventh-round stoppage.
For the rematch, the 6ft 6in (1.98m) Joshua has invested heavily in quality sparring partners, hiring boxers of similar stature to the 6ft Ruiz to prepare for the fast-handed Mexican-American.
“We had to bring in hard, rough sparring partners,” Joshua said. “I brought in the toughest and roughest.”
– ‘Punching like a horse’ –
Joshua is also believed to have shed considerable bodyweight for the fight.
In June, Joshua weighed in at 247.8 pounds (112.4 kg) but has said this week he expects to tip the scales significantly lighter, having cut muscle bulk in order to improve his mobility around the ring.
“I may be less than 17 stone (238 pounds),” Joshua said of his expected weight…….read more