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Anthony Joshua – ‘I have not become a pussy overnight. I can still fight’

Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua
The mental dimension to this fight is fascinating Action Images/Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Anthony Joshua reveals what is going on inside his head as he prepares for Andy Ruiz Jr - and has some choice words for David Haye

ANTHONY JOSHUA rejected the idea of any psychological help ahead of his big-money rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr because, he says, he ‘has not become a pussy overnight’.

It is still not six months since Joshua was the victim of one of the biggest upsets in the history of heavyweight boxing when Ruiz dropped him four times en route to an unforgettable seventh round stoppage at Madison Square Garden.

Despite much advice to the contrary, Joshua decided to jump head first into an immediate rematch and the 2012 Olympic champion will attempt to reclaim his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on December 7.

Anthony Joshua
STUNNER: Joshua dramatically unravels against Ruiz in New York

Anthony Joshua will jet out to the middle east later this week having done the bulk of the hard yards at his usual base at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield. No expense has been spared on a variety of sparring partners such as Bryant Jennings and Andrew Tabiti who helped to recreate Ruiz’s size and style.

However, AJ has revealed that none of his preparation has involved any additional psychological reflection of what went down in the iconic Manhattan venue on June 1.

“We haven’t done anything differently mentally,” he said. “I am a champion.

“I walked into the gym in 2008 and three years later I was Olympic champion. I have had one loss but I am not about to become a pussy overnight and not be able to fight.

“I can fight, that is it, I don’t need to reflect on that, I just need to win.

“One loss can’t strip your skin off overnight, when you put your solid foundations in, one chip in the brick can’t destroy the whole building.”

Anthony Joshua, who weighed in at 247 3/4lbs first time around (his heaviest was 254lbs against Carlos Takam in 2017), also insisted that he has not slimmed down in order to better combat Ruiz’s speed despite a series of recent photographs appearing to show a far leaner physique.

“I think it is more to do with the angles of the photos,” he said.

“I am still as strong as ever, still as heavy as ever and in the heavyweight division.

“Weight is a big factor in the heavyweight division these days but I don’t think it should be such a big deal.

“I leave it down to my sparring and how I prepare for the fight, I am not really focused on my weight, I am just focused on my sparring.

“I could weigh anything but it just comes down to how I perform in the ring. I am not interested in getting down or up to 110kg and then thinking I am fit.

“My diet is the same as before but I’ve just cut down on the salt.

“Everyone in the team has different opinions on my weight but I like going off of my sparring.

“If I am sparring 10 or 15 rounds at 120kgs them I am good. The sparring gives me all the information I need.

Anthony Joshua
BULLISH: Anthony Joshua is determined to put some wrongs right [Action Images/Reuters]

“If I sparred six times and after a chat with Rob I decided which one was my best spar, we will know what weight I was and adjust it to that.

“I will never get my weight down and then adjust my sparring to that. I am not concerned with anything apart from how I am performing in the ring.”

David Haye, in particular, has recently suggested that Joshua’s sparring in the build-up to the first Ruiz fight was inadequate ahead of the ‘dogfight’ which unfolded at Madison Square Garden.

But an annoyed Anthony Joshua responded: “He has never been in my camp…. And I only needed 16 fights to become champion of the world.

“I have always been a fighter. You cannot be lacking anything and I have not been protected, Rob [McCracken] has not been telling my sparring partners to tie one hand behind their back.”

McCracken, who came under intense criticism following June 1, also laughed off Haye’s suggestion.

Anthony Joshua
PARTNERS: McCracken and Joshua are sticking together [Action Images/Andrew Couldridge]

He said: “Since Josh has been a professional, sparring partners have always come here to try to rip his head off and make a name for themselves.

“We had some real good sparring with the likes of Andrew Tabiti and Bryant Jennings, real experienced guys and Tabiti is as quick as you can get for a cruiserweight.

“This group of sparring partners has done really well and pushed him every step of the way and we still have three very important spars ahead where our strategy is going to be carried out and they are still to come.”

Sky Sports Box Office will exclusively show Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 on December 7. Available to buy now at www.skysports.com/joshua.

2 Comments

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  • AJ loses by an wider range this time round. He will not be able to keep ruiz off him, he cannot engage ruiz and he cannot run all night and expect to win.

  • It’s interesting and concerning in equal measure that AJ feels that consulting a sports psychologist would indicate weakness – this combined with his lack of understanding about the political situation in Saudi suggests that AJ’s actually a bit of a dinosaur.

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