Anthony Joshua emphatically stated that Andy Ruiz is the “best heavyweight out there” ahead of the pair’s highly anticipated rematch in Saudi Arabia on 7 December.
‘The Clash on the Dunes’ will see Ruiz look to again best Joshua after his shock victory saw him take three title belts from the Englishman, and Ruiz vowed to win in similar fashion in Diriyah.
Three months before the encounter, the pair fired their verbal salvos in London. See how the press conference unfolded below:
Joshua lost his WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles in one of the most high-profile shocks of the generation when unheralded Andy Ruiz Jr stopped him inside seven unforgettable rounds at New York’s Madison Square Garden on 1 June.
He has since agreed a deal to face Ruiz in an immediate rematch on 7 December in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia and is expected to bank a career-high payday as a result of his decision to box in the desert kingdom.
Welcome to live coverage of the press conference of Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr in London...
Three months before they "Clash on the Dunes", Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr have begun their war before the war, speaking in New York yesterday.
Ruiz, clad in a black sombrero and proudly showing off the pearly whites with a broad smile, was pleased to be back in the city where everything changed, and he insisted he wants more ahead of the rematch:
We are still waiting for today's proceedings to get underway in London, with a scheduled 1pm start not quite materialising.
Here is a reminder of what will be on the line in Saudi Arabia (excluding the sombrero, one presumes). Shiny!
In shocking Joshua, Ruiz became the first boxer with Mexican heritage to take a world heavyweight crown. It was a quite sensational performance, one that would not even have happened without the transgressions of Jarrell Miller, of course. Talk about taking your opportunity and running with it...
The panel have assembled themselves, with Eddie Hearn kicking things off, talking up the iconic nature of the upcoming fight. Ruiz has again gone for the sombrero. Joshua looks focused, arms crossed to accentuate the biceps. Not that they need accentuating.
Adam Smith, Sky's Head of Boxing, is running us through a history of great boxing rematches, and then moves on to a recap of the first encounter.
"It really is a fascinating rematch. We go to a neutral territory, to a new place. Do not miss it! We can't wait."
"The decision to go to Saudi Arabia is one we considered carefully," Eddie Hearn says.
He mentions the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thriller in Manila as previous fights in non-traditional boxing locations that have captured the sporting world, and he seems to be hoping this fight will be recalled in a similar manner in years to come. No pressure, lads.
"We are pleased to be on a journey that sees Saudi Arabia continue to move forward," a representative says. There has been plenty of sporting growth in the Middle East in the last five years or so, with Saudi Arabia particularly starting to position itself as a premier sporting location. To capture a fight of this magnitude is a show of intent.
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