A lot has been made this week about a seemingly slimmer Anthony Joshua as the former heavyweight champion completes preparation for his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr.
The 6-feet-6 Joshua weighed in at 247¾ pounds for his stunning technical-knockout loss to Ruiz on June 1 at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. Among the adjustments Joshua made during this training camp apparently is to come into their rematch lighter than that, so that he can deal better with Ruiz’s speed.
Ruiz doesn’t think weight loss will help Joshua when they square off again Saturday night in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. There also has been speculation that Ruiz will weigh less for their second bout, but Ruiz told BoxingScene.com following an open workout Tuesday in Riyadh that he’ll step on the scale Friday at about the same weight he was when he weighed in May 31 in New York.
The 6-feet-2 Ruiz officially weighed 268 pounds for his seventh-round stoppage of Joshua six months ago. The Imperial, California, native was six pounds heavier than he weighed for his previous bout six weeks earlier, yet nowhere near the career-high 297½ pounds he weighed for his pro debut in March 2009.
Dressed in a tee shirt and sweatpants Tuesday, the chubby champion’s frame seemed similar to how he appeared before their first fight.
“I’m the same, man,” Ruiz told BoxingScene.com. “A lot of people have been saying I’ve lost too much weight, but in the weigh-ins I’m gonna be the same – 267, 268. I wanna be strong. I wanna feel healthy. I don’t wanna lose too much weight and, you know, feel a little weak. I wanna feel strong. I wanna feel a heavy hit, so that’s exactly what we have planned.”
The 30-year-old Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), of Watford, England, is listed as slightly more than a 2-1 favorite to win back his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles from Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), who’s also 30, when they meet at the newly constructed, open-air Diriyah Arena.
Their immediate rematch is the main event of a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view event in the United Kingdom (5 p.m. GMT; £24.95 in HD). Joshua-Ruiz II also will headline DAZN’s stream in the United States (noon ET/9 a.m. PT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.