FORMER world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua has assured his teeming supporters that he intends to regain his respect when he wins back his belts in next Saturday’s fight against Mexican Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.
In an upset that shocked the boxing world, Joshua got knocked to the canvass four times during the course of their first fight on June 1, forcing the referee to end matters in the seventh round. In a development that completely shook up the heavyweight scene, Joshua lost the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organisation, International Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Federation titles on the night.
However, the fight’s contract had a rematch clause in it compelling Ruiz to another face-off if he won and Joshua’s camp have triggered this. This Saturday on December 7, the rematch takes place at Diriyah in Saudi Arabia and both boxers are already in the country, preparing for the epic fight.
Joshua has said that he is more interested in earning back his respect than winning the belts he shockingly lost to Ruiz. Since the first fight, the Nigerian-born British heavyweight boxer had endured all sorts of criticism, including being mocked for losing to a short and fat opponent.
This time around though, he appears to be taking his training more seriously and is looking very trim and fit. In his run-up to the fight, both boxers are reported to have trimmed off both muscle and fat, in an effort to be fastest to the draw in a fight few expect to go the distance.
Joshua said: “I’ve had time to reflect as it took me three weeks to come to terms with the loss. I’m taking it even more serious now so I can go up yet another level.
“I don’t often look at the belts, I don’t have a big trophy cabinet at home and I don’t show them off at night clubs. That’s not me and I’ve always said the belt should never define the man.
“It’s really about a championship mindset, a championship spirit. I walked as a champion before ever I got a belt, I walk as a champion now and I will walk as a champion after I beat Ruiz. That’s my mindset going into this fight.”
Apparently, the extra speed of Ruiz enabled him to come back from a third round knockdown in New York to drop Joshua four times during the first fight. Joshua has been working on this but has also indicated that he has no intention of retiring, win or lose.
He added: “I still have more to prove to myself. That’s where the hunger still comes from.”