By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua just doesn’t see the point.
The former heavyweight champion has heard all of the rationale for why he should take an interim bout before fighting Andy Ruiz Jr. again. The British superstar has been told exactly why he won’t be ready, mentally or physically, for an immediate rematch – not after that stunning beating he absorbed June 1 at Madison Square Garden.
Joshua is determined to disprove those skeptics’ perspective on the damage done to him two months ago, when Ruiz dropped him four times and stopped him in the seventh round. That’s why Joshua never even considered taking a tune-up prior to attempting to win back his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles from Ruiz.
Finalizing the date and the venue for their rematch has been problematic because Ruiz, a Mexican-American from Imperial, California, doesn’t want to fight Joshua in the United Kingdom later this year. Joshua told Sky Sports’ Adam Smith during an interview that aired Tuesday, though, that the two sides are close to reaching an agreement on when and where they’ll fight again.
The 6-feet-6, 250-pound Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) also explained to Smith why taking what he called a “warmup fight” before boxing Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) a second time didn’t make any sense to him.
“Hundred percent,” Joshua said of only wanting an immediate rematch. “And anyone who tells me different, they ain’t cut from the same cloth as me. They ain’t true warriors. Anyone who’s like, ‘Oh, he should go have a warmup fight.’ Who’s my warmup fight gonna be? Usyk, Ortiz, Dillian Whyte. These are top-level boxers. And I’ve got the chance to fight for the heavyweight championship right in front of me. I don’t fight, you know, B-class heavyweights. I’m fighting the best in the world, so I’m going straight for them titles. And that’s the guy I want, Ruiz. He’s got what I want, the titles, so let’s get it on.”
Joshua also would’ve risked losing to another opponent and losing out on his contractually mandated second fight with Ruiz had he not exercised his right to an immediate rematch.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.