‘Boxing’s not about body-building… it’s what’s inside that matters’: Anthony Joshua won’t be fooled by flabby opponent Andy Ruiz Jnr
- Anthony Joshua makes his American debut against Andy Ruiz Jnr on Saturday
- Ruiz is flabbier than Joshua and his world title claims are derided due to his look
- But WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion Joshua won’t be fooled by his physique
- Joshua pointed to Ruiz’s 32 wins from 33 fights, including 21 by knock-out
Anthony Joshua is not judging the opponent for his American debut by appearances and he urges the rest of us not to do so either.
Andy Ruiz Jnr is one of the portlier pugilists and his claim that he is about to become the first heavyweight of Mexican origin to win that world title is often derided.
‘That’s because of the aesthetics,’ says Joshua as he prepares to defend his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts at Madison Square Garden. ‘Put a six-pack on Ruiz and add some pecs and then look at his record and people would say here is a potential world champion.’
Anthony Joshua insist he will not be fooled by his opponent’s portly physique on Saturday
Joshua speaks to the media on Monday night in New York ahead of this weekend’s bout
At 6ft 2in the California-born Ruiz will stand four inches shorter than Joshua, but at anything up to 20lbs heavier he will look a lot wider, not to mention flabbier, than our muscular former Olympic gold medallist.
‘But boxing’s not about body-building,’ says Joshua. ‘If it was you could go into one of those gyms and pick up 15 heavyweight contenders. It’s what’s inside that matters. Ruiz has the heart and mentality. He has the dedication, puts in all the hard work.’
Ruiz Jnr has won 32 of his 33 fights, 21 of them by knockout. And the one defeat came when many thought he was robbed by hometown New Zealand judges in his solitary world title shot hitherto, against Joseph Parker.
‘That decision is the only reason why he’s not widely known yet,’ says Joshua. ‘He’s jumped at this chance to prove he’s a force to be reckoned with.
‘People keep saying, “AJ’s going to bash this guy in two or three rounds”, but let me tell you, he works the body from the start with a stabbing jab and that can slow you down early.
‘He has very good punch selection, looking to pick the shots which can do damage without wasting energy.
Andy Ruiz Jnr (L) is four inches shorter and 20lbs heavier than Joshua and a lot flabbier
‘He’s got a good guard while he’s stalking you down. I haven’t seen him get tired in a fight yet, either. That shows he has a focused, one-track mind when he’s fighting.’
So much for the stalking, how about the trash-talking? The challenger has labelled the champion ‘robotic’ and Joshua says that could be a mistake, explaining with a chuckle: ‘I’m going to smack him up now.
‘If he wants to go down that route I’m gonna want to break his jaw and hurt him really bad. But if he wants a boxing match and just gets hit with a shot from me he doesn’t see coming then we shake hands.
‘I prefer mutual respect with my opponents. The way it’s been with the likes of (Wladimir) Klitschko and (Alexander) Povetkin. That’s how I was brought up.’
Joshua v Ruiz Jnr is live on Sky Sports Box Office late on Saturday night