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Andy Ruiz: I wasn’t playing the nice guy – I am a nice guy

Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua
The shock of Andy Ruiz beating Anthony Joshua still reverberates through the sport Action Images/Reuters/Peter Cziborra
But in the ring I will try and rip Joshua’s face off, declares Andy Ruiz

NOBODY will be holding my belts, particularly not Anthony Joshua.

When he let me hold his belts before the first fight, looking back, it was a strange moment. But I kind of appreciated that he let me hold them. I don’t agree with superstitious people who say, ‘If Joshua hadn’t let him hold the belts he would have won’. I beat him fair and square. The fights are won inside the gym and I was really hungry for that fight and I still am now.

I wasn’t playing at being the nice guy in the build-up. They were not tactics. That’s just the guy I am. To this day I’m still the nice guy, I still respect Joshua and I’m a big fan of what he did in boxing. He has been a champion since his 16th fight.

Inside the ring, and I even told him this, there are no friends and no respect. There’s nothing, just me and you, trying to rip each other’s face off. In my eyes, when we’re in the ring, I feel like he’s trying to take my kids’ Cheerios, my kids’ Fruit Loops and that’s what’s honestly giving me extra motivation.

Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua
Ruiz insists he still has no personal animosity towards Joshua Action Images/Reuters/Peter Cziborra

I’m confident but I still don’t underestimate any fighter. I know Joshua is going to come stronger. I know he’s more focused but, like Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. So we’ll wait until December 7 to find out what happened. We’ll find out then if the first fight was a fluke and only down to Joshua being off form.

It annoyed me a little bit that all the focus was on Joshua after I won the fight, but everybody was just trying to look for an excuse or a reason why he didn’t perform like normal or why he lost like he did. I think it was because of the styles – styles make fights. I’d been calling out Joshua for a long time because I knew his style was perfect for me. December 7, the plan is to do the same thing.

I’ve watched what happened in the first fight a lot of times. I don’t watch the fight daily, but I watch it a lot. I was pinching myself to see if this was real. I was watching it and watching it to see the mistakes I made and where I could improve. And I’ve seen things that I can improve, I could have been better, I shouldn’t have hesitated at certain times.

I wasn’t really hurt when he dropped me in round three. It was my first time getting dropped but I got up. He really got me with the strong right hand when he was trying to finish me off and I ate it. I remember that moment. I was just trying to stay in the pocket, trying to stay in the fight. I’m the type of fighter who is going to go and give it everything.

Ever since I won the world title I’ve been getting so much love from my people. But I know the hunger remains there because I don’t want to let my people down or my kids down. This is something new, but I don’t want to give it away. My new watch, my jewellery, are all material things. Material things that I always wanted. But what I really want is legacy. I don’t want my 15 minutes of fame or anything like that. I need to remain humble, stay disciplined and keep training. That’s how I will continue to be a champion.

I know Joshua is going to train hard, so I have to train harder. His eyes are focused but, deep inside, we don’t know what he’s really thinking. Does he have doubts? Of course he has doubts. We all have doubts. It’s our choice to overcome them. At the end of the fight he didn’t want to continue. The referee was taking a long time to stop it, but it is what it is. We don’t want December 7 to be like that, but we are trying for the same result.

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  • Ruiz Jr’s antics & trash-talk after the first fight as well as him trying to avoid his contractual obligations show that he’s certainly not the person he tries to portray to the boxing media.

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