Three of the four recognized heavyweight titles will be at stake on Saturday when Andy Ruiz Jr. looks for a second straight upset of former unified champion Anthony Joshua.
Eight months after Ruiz’s epic knockout at New York’s Madison Square Garden in Joshua’s U.S. debut, the stage shifts to Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, and the makeshift outdoor Diriyah Arena as the British superstar looks to regain his WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
The 30-year-old Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), a native of California, became the first heavyweight champion in boxing history of Mexican descent when he floored Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), 30, three times en route to a seventh-round TKO in April.
“I’m confident about the rematch, but I don’t underestimate any fighter. I know AJ’s going to come stronger and more focused but inside the gym, like Mike Tyson says, everyone has a plan until they get hit.”
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“I’m sure everybody was trying to look for an excuse and reason why he didn’t perform and why he lost. I think it was down to the style. Styles make fights and I’ve been calling AJ out for a while. I knew his style was perfect for me and that’s why I plan to do the same thing.” Stated Ruiz.
“It’s about how you come back. I have a different challenge in my head. When you’ve walked the road once, you can do it again.”
“I am looking at myself in the mirror and saying I know I’m better than that [losing last time round]. Andy is still the same person. He will come game and I’ve got to change some of my bits and bobs.” Stated Joshua when asked about fighting Ruiz for the second time.
Both boxers’ game plans could be significantly different for the rematch, though, Ruiz said. And despite his increased prominence in the boxing world as a result of his victory, Ruiz said he hasn’t lost his fire.
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