ANTHONY JOSHUA has revealed he plans to use “range, movement and educated exchanging” to gain revenge over Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia. This, along with advice from Wladimir Klitschko, leaves the former champion confident he can regain his titles.
Speaking at the fighters’ meeting in Diriyah, Joshua spoke of the brief torment he endured following the crushing defeat he endured in New York six months ago but friends and his team soon picked him back up.
“I stayed in New York for two weeks after losing to Andy Ruiz Jr and I would think about the fight at night,” Joshua explained. “Once I got back, I was in the gym within three days. It is good to show your face and not be a recluse and be down and out.”
“I went back, saw my friends and the same people I saw before I left, it could have been difficult, but it was fine. Some of my friends are not really boxing people and some are realists who told me ‘You effed up, you need to get back in the gym’ and I rate those people for being straight up.
“I would think about the fight at night but, the more you go out the more you face the reality it happened.
“I am confident, very confident and I have a gameplan. I have different ways to skin the cat and am looking forward to putting it in to play.
“I am 6ft 6in so it would be wrong for me to go toe-to-toe with Ruiz and start hooking. I have to box to my attributes, which are range and movement.
“My boxing style is not what a scared fighter would do, it is what a smart fighter would do. I am going to be the smarter fighter on the night.
“We have to engage to win, but I am going to engage to my benefit. Educated engagement will be important on fight night.”
As Joshua focused solely on gaining revenge, former rival and world champion Wladimir Klitschko – no stranger to bouncing back in his illustrious career – has been on hand to impart some words of wisdom to Joshua.
“Klitschko is a G,” Joshua said.
“He does not get enough credit for everything he achieved. When I fought him, he called me a cross-fit champion and I was offended. But he just knew he was better conditioned from spending more time in the ring. So this time we spent more time getting comfortable in the ring, moving to my left and right and understanding ring generalship.
“Klitschko told me to stay off my phone this week and not listen to too many outside influences because my own belief is what is important this week not what someone is trying to tell you on the outside.”
Through it all, Joshua has retained his fans and he is grateful for that.
“The public have supported me,” Joshua continued. “We talk about the 90,000 at Wembley, so when I do slip up I have to expect a bigger scale of backlash.
“I have to take the good with the bad but I am never going to listen to the good and get ahead of myself and cocky.
“And I am never going to listen to the bad stuff to the point that I want to give up because I cannot take the stick.
“When I finish [boxing], I think all of this stuff will have more meaning and make a good story. Rob McCracken knows I want to be a coach one day but he thinks it is so funny, he jokes I’ll be coaching them on FaceTime. But I want to be a coach so I can teach them about boxing.
“Everything I have gone through is going to help someone so I am never going to give up because people don’t support me anymore.”
Before all that, Joshua is readying himself for the threat of Andy Ruiz Jr, the man who turned his world upside down in June.
“He has fast hands, for sure, in spurts, but I will compete continuously, I will beat him continuously with more punch output and then I just have to make sure my timing is on point.
“He has fast hands but they are not fast to the point that I will not be able to touch him, I will be able to touch him.”