Clash on the Dunes: Anthony Joshua already planning for third fight against Andy Ruiz Jr
Ahead of Saudi Arabia bout, Briton predicts a heavyweight trilogy against Mexican-American
Anthony Joshua has predicted “bloodshed and knockouts” when he attempts to win back his world heavyweight belts from Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
The British boxer, 30, enters the ring competitively for the first time since his surprise loss to the American-Mexican in New York on June 1.
Undefeated going into that fight, Joshua was downed four times in all against Ruiz, a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, before losing by technical knockout in the seventh round. It is regarded by many as one of the greatest shocks in boxing history.
But after conducting a fleeting public work-out in Riyadh on Tuesday, Joshua, who is being lined-up for a potential unification bout against either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, said he did not believe the Clash on the Dunes would be the last time he meets Ruiz in the ring with a trilogy very much in the offing.
"Me and Andy Ruiz will definitely see each other for a third time somewhere down the line," said Joshua, who is looking to win back the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts.
"I think we make for good fights. I think there is going to be a knockout, because that's what people want to see – bloodshed and knockouts. And we'll definitely see each other for a third time."
Joshua is expected to weigh up to 7Ibs lighter than he did for the first fight. His slimmer physique during Tuesday's workouts in Riyadh supporting the theory that he has trimmed down in order to be more agile in avoiding his opponent's bombing hands that proved so troublesome six months ago.
Joshua added: “I am quick anyway. I am not looking for anything except the win. That’s the objective. It’s not about speed. It’s like night and day. I shed some skin last time. Rebuilt myself. The objective is just about to win, win, win.”
Joshua's trainer, Rob McCracken, played down the significance of the apparent weight loss. He said: "The plan is to come in a little bit lighter but only naturally so, due to having done a bit more training and being in a bit better condition.
"He's been able to do more sparring and more running this time round. It's easy to say this because he didn't win the first fight, but he's definitely in better shape for this one.
"I'm much happier where he is than at this point in June. Obviously before the last fight you had the late pull-out and it wasn't ideal. This time they've had plenty of notice so it is a level playing field."
Joshua and Ruiz have shown plenty of respect towards each other in the build-up and will come face to face with each other for the first time this week when they appear at the final press conference in Diriyah on Wednesday.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said he expects the Clash on the Dunes to be a starting point for a new era of big fights to be staged in the Kingdom.
“Every boxer and every manager wants to fight here,” Hearn said. “Pacquiao and Canelo are coming. The talk is Mayweather is too. They want a piece of the action.
"The plan is to make Saudi Arabia the home of mega boxing. All due respect to Las Vegas, but this place has the ability to bring any fight they want here.
"We had a great meeting with them last night. They can’t believe they got this and it is nearly here, and are saying: ‘What’s next?’
“I’ve said to them it has to be the biggest fights out there. “It’s Joshua against [Deontay] Wilder. And it’s not Errol Spence making a title defence, but Errol Spence against Terence Crawford.
"I am working now with these guys. And the amount of approaches they have had from people in the sport is incredible.”
Updated: December 5, 2019 11:50 AM