Anthony Joshua has said “sometimes the ones who are calm and chilled can bark” about the laidback Andy Ruiz Jr, who he rates as “the best heavyweight out there”. Joshua and Ruiz Jr went face to face in London as their three-day press tour concluded, meaning preparation can now ramp up ahead of their December 7 rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Asked about again being a challenger to the world heavyweight championships, Joshua said: “It’s a great mindset to have and you can’t lose that. The minute you lose it, you’ve got to retire. You’ve got to be hungry.
“I had a blip. We go again. I’m not shy. No fear.”
Joshua said about his upcoming opponent who took his IBF, WBA and WBO belts earlier this year: “Ruiz Jr is calm but he can fight. He is not a fake character who puts on a persona.
“Sometimes the ones who are calm and chilled can bark back, and can definitely fight.”
He put his seven-round stoppage defeat down to the moment when he hurriedly tried to finish off Ruiz Jr having knocked him down, only to suffer a concussive punch which spelt the beginning of the end.
“There is no need to rush,” Joshua said about how he will approach the rematch. “Until the beef is 100 per cent cooked, don’t take it out of the oven. I went to take it out of the oven and I got burned. I have to wait until it’s ready then go in for the kill. In the last fight, he wasn’t ready yet and that was a mistake on my part.
“I will get the titles back and be respected as the top heavyweight in the division.”
Joshua earlier pointed to his willingness to fight the best contenders in a thinly-veiled dig at Tyson Fury, who next week faces Otto Wallin.
“Wladimir Klitschko? Champion. Joseph Parker? Champion. Alexander Povetkin? Champion,” he said. “Now I’m fighting another champion in Andy Ruiz.
“My challenges and my fights are never cherry-picking. They are the elite of the elite, the top of the crop.
“Right now, in my opinion, Andy Ruiz is the best heavyweight out there.
“Everyone knows it was important to overlook fighters because we wanted the fight with the WBC champion [Deontay Wilder]. But I don’t have to overlook Ruiz Jr.
“I’ll walk to the ring, probably jog to the ring this time, crack my neck and clench my fists, and when that bell goes we’re going to get down and dirty and handle business.”
Ruiz Jr said: “I still have that hunger. I just got these belts. You think I want to lose them already? Hell no.
“I look heavy, I look big, but I always had the mindset that I’d be the first Mexican heavyweight champion.”
Ruiz Jr was likened to Mexican legends by his trainer Manny Robles: “I compared Andy to Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales stylistically. You don’t fight heavyweight fighters that can fight that way, like Andy does.
“Andy had the perfect style to give Joshua a great fight.
“Joshua had never faced anyone like Andy. Most of you probably agree with me now.
“Most fighters become better when they taste defeat. You win or you learn. I’m sure Joshua will learn.
“What does he have to lose? He doesn’t have to worry about that undefeated record. Andy had tasted defeat prior to facing Joshua and he knew what that felt like. He learned and became a better fighter. He had nothing to lose and everything to win.”