Joshua, Ruiz ready for 'Clash on the Dunes

Joshua, Ruiz ready for 'Clash on the Dunes

Joshua, Ruiz ready for 'Clash on the Dunes


 Anthony Joshua faces the biggest test of his boxing career on Saturday as he attempts to reclaim his world heavyweight crown from Andy Ruiz in a controversial rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Six months after suffering a shock knockout defeat to Ruiz at Madison Square Garden, Joshua will climb back into the ring with Ruiz seeking to win back the IBF, WBA, and WBO titles.

A leaner, meaner Joshua told reporters this week he is "hungry, determined and focused" for a bout that is expected to get under way at around midnight local time (2100 GMT Saturday).

ua, who would face a long road back to the heavyweight division if he loses a fight as "Clash on the Dunes."

Victory, by contrast, would re-establish its credentials in the division, opening the door to money-spinning fights against WBC champion Deontay Wilder or fellow Briton Tyson Fury.

"I'm not here to put on a show, I'm here to win," said Joshua (22-1, 21 knockouts).

Joshua has blamed a "lack of experience" for his defeat to Ruiz in June, when he was knocked down four times en route to a seventh-round stoppage.

For the rematch, the 6ft 6in (1.98m) Joshua has invested heavily in quality sparring partners, hiring boxers of similar stature to the 6ft Ruiz to prepare for the fast-handed Mexican-American.
Joshua is also believed to have shed some bodyweight for the fight.

In June, Joshua weighed in at 247.8 pounds (112.4 kg) but said this week he expects to tip the scales significantly lighter, having cut muscle bulk in order to improve his mobility around the ring.

"I might be less than 17 stone (238 pounds)," Joshua said of his expected weight.

"Before I was trying to bench press a house. I used to get my body where I needed it but then I started realizing the sweet science of the sport," he said. "I'm punching like a horse kicking backwards right now."

Ruiz, whose slick, swarming combinations rocked Joshua at their first meeting, says he's ready for the Briton´s chance to change tactics.

"I know (Joshua) is going to come up with a different game plan, I know he's prepared and I know he's motivated," said Ruiz (33-1, 22 knockouts).

"I know he's lost weight and will try to box me around, but it's just my job to prevent that. I'm ready for whatever comes my way."

Win or lose, Saturday´s eagerly anticipated heavyweight battle could signal the dawn of a new era for boxing.

The rematch will take place in a purpose built 15,000-seat arena in Diriyah on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia secured the staging rights to the rematch after reportedly offering an astronomical purse to promoters and fighters.

Joshua´s take is reported to be around $ 60 million while promoters Matchroom Boxing were handed an eye-popping $ 40 million site fee to fight Saudi Arabia.

Ruiz, who was locked in a rematch at a set figure as a condition of his first meeting with Joshua, is expected to receive $ 9 million.

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