A slimline version of Anthony Joshua said he is expecting his rivalry with Andy Ruiz Jr to turn into a trilogy after final revealing that he has lost a significant amount of weight since their first fight in June.
Joshua turned up at the public workout in Riyadh having completed his final six rounds of sparring earlier in the day. With the temperature dropping – Ruiz wore a woolly hat during his session – Joshua did barely two minutes of shadow boxing for the crowd before cutting to do an interview.
“He was on my mind in the five weeks before June 1, because that is when he came in as a replacement,” Joshua said when asked if Ruiz was on his mind.
“And he is going to be on my mind forever because all these boys, we are all going to fight anyway. Me and Andy Ruiz we’ll definitely see each other a third time down the line. This isn’t the last time I will be seeing Andy Ruiz in the ring.”
He said that he would face a third fight at some point, even if Joshua won easily on Saturday.
“Because I think we make for good fights,” he said. “I think there is going to be a knockout, and that is what people want to see, bloodshed and knockouts. And we'll definitely see each other the third time.”
Joshua is long rumoured to have cut out his weight training in order to be more mobile in the ring. The proof was right before everyone. Joshua is likely to be in the region of 10 pounds lighter than he was for the first fight with Ruiz in June.
“I am quick anyway,” he said. “I am not looking for anything except the win. That's the objective. It's not about speed. The objective is just about to win, win win.”
Eddie Hearn, the promoter, was among the first to hint that Joshua had dropped some pounds in training, hinting that he will try to box and move in their return for the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles.
“He looks great, he feels great and he is lean, lean, I don’t know about the weight, but it is going to be light,” Hearn said
“It’s not intentional like he has been dieting to lose weight, he has cut out a lot of strength and conditioning work and this camp has been boxing related.
“He has done rounds and rounds of sparring, rounds and rounds of technique. He was training too hard, he is training smarter now. When I saw him in New York and for [Alexander] Povetkin as well, he looked drained because he had worked his bollocks off in camp.
“I’m hoping he doesn’t feel like that now, he feels great. But that has been a problem. He has learnt what his body can do. He is boxing fit.
“Look at Ruiz. All he does is spar, but he is boxing fit. He could go 12 rounds whether he has put on a stone, lost a stone.
“He has had to learn things, like pacing a fight, that come naturally to Ruiz. is in a great place.”