Now that Anthony Joshua has regained his heavyweight titles, his trainer intends to keep him around the weight at which he defeated Andy Ruiz Jr.
By weighing in at 237½ pounds for their immediate rematch, the 6-feet-6 Joshua was better able to execute a game plan predicated on him jabbing and moving against a dangerous opponent who upset him by technical knockout in their first fight. The British superstar stayed behind his jab for much of their 12-round fight and mostly moved out of Ruiz’s punching range en route to winning a unanimous decision Saturday night at Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
More was made of Ruiz’s weight gain for their rematch than Joshua’s weight loss. Nevertheless, Joshua dropping 10 pounds from the time of their first fight until their rematch convinced his longtime trainer, Rob McCracken, that this is the weight that best suits the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion.
“I’d like him to stay around the weight that he is,” McCracken told BoxingScene.com during a post-fight interview. “Obviously, as he gets a little bit older, he’ll gain a little bit. That comes naturally with getting older. But yeah, the weight was good. He had great legs [Saturday night] and we’ll keep him around that weight as long as we can.”
The 30-year-old Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) weighed in at 247¾ pounds for his June 1 fight against Ruiz. Joshua suffered four knockdowns during that stunning TKO defeat.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist hadn’t weighed in as low as he did for the Ruiz rematch since he stepped on a scale at 236½ pounds for his ninth pro fight in October 2014. Joshua was a career-high 254 pounds for his 10th-round stoppage of Carlos Takam in October 2017.
Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) came in at 268 pounds for their first fight. He weighed a whopping 283½ pounds for their rematch, which led Ruiz to admit afterward that he didn’t take training camp seriously enough to win.
Joshua took the complete opposite approach while preparing to win back his titles.
“I think his weight was good,” McCracken said. “We worked the weight on how the sparring’s going, and he performed in sparring for this camp. He had some really good sparring partners and he performed in all of the spars. And I needed three or four big spars out of him in the last ones, and we did three [12-round sessions] and a [13-round session]. And he performed in all of them, and I knew he was ready.
“His energy levels have been good. His diet’s been good. And, you know, he’s been doing some really good runs as well. So, he’s very fit and he’s very difficult to beat when he’s like that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.