• ‘We Can’t Withstand The Agony Of Watching Him Lose Again’ • Gladiators Tip Scales Ahead Of Today’s Mega Fight
Sagamu, the home town of Anthony Joshua, is in prayer mood awaiting the world heavyweight boxing title contest between their son and Mexican-American, Andy Ruiz Jr. today in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua suffered a shock defeat when they met in New York in June, and today, he has another opportunity to reclaim the world heavyweight titles.
For the people of Sagamu, today’s rematch must go the way of Anthony Joshua.
Ruiz has celebrated winning the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts by buying five cars – including two types of Mercedes G-Class, a Rolls Royce and a Lamborghini, as well as a truck for his parents.
The Mexican-American boxer says his competitive fire rages brighter than ever. He believes Joshua will fall again.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday in Sagamu, a member of Anthony Joshua’s family, who gave his name as Pa Samson Joshua, said he expects the boxer to regain his titles and make his people proud.
“Ever since he lost the title, we have been praying for God to give him the energy to reclaim his title. For the past few days, some of us have been fasting and praying for Anthony’s dream to come true. He just has to beat Ruiz tomorrow (today).”
A female boxing follower, Akinola Busola, who spoke with The Guardian at Nandas Hotel yesterday, sounded optimistic that Joshua would win, but cautioned him not to take Ruiz for granted.
“Joshua is my brother and I wait him to win. But he must be very careful in handling Ruiz tomorrow (today). We can’t withstand the agony of watching him lose again,” Busola stated.
The fight in Saudi Arabia promises much excitement for fans as the gladiators have trained hard for today.
While the Mexican-American expects Joshua to come in much lighter in their second fight in a bid to outmanoeuvre him, he predicts another stoppage.
“We’ve been training on being small, being more slick, applying pressure, throwing combinations and being first to the punch,” Ruiz said. “I know he is going to try to box me around, that’s why he has lost some weight. He’ll try to keep me away with the jab but that’s exactly what we’ve been practising for.
“I think he will box around nicely for four or five rounds until I take the pressure to him, start hitting his body and mixing it up. He’s not good enough to avoid me for the full 12 rounds on the back foot. We’ve been working on this for around three months now and I know, whatever he brings, we will be ready for it.”
Ruiz admitted that part of his tactics have involved enraging Joshua by calling him a quitter for spitting out his gumshield in their first fight. “I am pretty sure he was mad at me,” he said, “but that is what I felt in my heart, he spat his mouthpiece out and quit.
“I respect the man outside the ring. I would always hug him and shake his hand, so it’s all about respect. But I want him to be mad and swinging in the ring, I want him to have that attitude because I will be calm and know exactly what we need to do.”
The biggest fight of the year is now just over 24 hours away. Ahead of the much-anticipated rematch, both fighters tipped the scales in front of a raucous crowd in Saudi Arabia.
At 283.7 pounds, Ruiz came in at his heaviest weight in many years and 15 pounds heavier than he was for the first fight in June. Meanwhile, Joshua came in at 237.8 pounds, which is 10 pounds lighter than he was in June and the lightest he has been for any fight since 2014.
The main event is expected to begin at approximately 4.00 p.m. following a stacked event featuring four additional heavyweight fights.
In the evening’s chief support bout, Alexander Povetkin (35-2, 24 KOs) will square off against Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round affair. The main card will also feature Dillian Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs) against Mariusz Wach (35-5, 19 KOs) in a 10-round fight, Filip Hrgovic (9-0, 7 KOs) against Eric Molina (27-5, 19 KOs) in a 12-round scrap and Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1KO) against Tom Little (10-7, 3 KOs) in an scheduled eight-round heavyweight bout.