Former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz thinks that Anthony Joshua is finally starting to show the aggression that once defined his career, before he ran into a chunky power puncher with fast hands. 

Ruiz was an athletic question mark before he dropped Joshua four times and stopped him to capture three heavyweight titles in their 2019 slugfest in Madison Square Garden. Joshua seemed to emerge from the first fight a little gun-shy, a little tentative. He won the rematch with Ruiz in a carefully calibrated, cautious performance, and his temperament seemed to be more safety-first than full-speed ahead. With two recent knockouts – including a whiplash, highlight-reel KO of Francis Ngannou – Joshua, Ruiz believes, is starting to regain his offensive-minded form. 

“He’s getting his momentum back,” Ruiz said on Wednesday before a press conference in Manhattan, New York, to announce his bout with Jarrell Miller on Aug. 3 at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, as part of a stacked card headlined by Terence Crawford and Israil Madrimov. “He’s getting his confidence back. I think that’s the most important thing. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do. I think he’s doing his thing. I’m just happy for him. I would love to have that trilogy with him. He gave me that opportunity. I gave him back that opportunity, and there’s one more. I want to become a two-time heavyweight champion of the world.”

Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) qualified his remarks by saying that Joshua’s offensive success could be due in part to his opponents. Joshua dominated a very skilled but somewhat unproven commodity in Otto Wallin last December in a fifth-round stoppage and then blasted out a boxing novice in Ngannou in March in just two rounds.

“AJ’s been doing good. He’s been taking out the guys that he’s supposed to,” Ruiz said. “I’m not saying they’re super-good opponents that have really good skills. I’m sure if he fought someone else that had more skills, that wanted to win the fight and aren’t just facing him for the payday or the exposure, they want to win the fight and do whatever it takes – and I feel that should be me,” he said with a chuckle. “I give it all I have. I die inside that ring. But he’s been doing good and he’s been doing his thing.”

Ruiz hopes to return to the ring again in December following his bout with Miller (26-1-1, 22 KOs). Ruiz hasn’t fought since he decked Luis Ortiz three times on his way to a unanimous decision in September 2022. Ruiz underwent surgery on a torn rotator cuff last year.

“I have to climb up the ladder again,” Ruiz said. “After I do these fights and get back into the groove, I’d love to fight Joseph Parker, [Deontay] Wilder and Joshua. The main thing is training and staying in shape. After this fight, I plan on training and training and come back in December.”