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Anthony Joshua receiving top class sparring ahead of Andy Ruiz Jr rematch

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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After struggling to find suitable sparring partners to replicate the style of Andy Ruiz Jr ahead of their first fight, Anthony Joshua’s team insists it’s not a problem this time around.

Joshua 22-1 (21) was originally scheduled to face Jarrell Miller 23-0-1 (20) in New York on June 1 before the undefeated American fails a drugs test. Ruiz Jr 33-1 (22) stepped in on six weeks’ notice before knocking out Joshua at Madison Square Garden in seven rounds.

Joshua is scheduled to rematch Ruiz Jr for the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships in Saudi Arabia on December 7.

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This time around Team Joshua are leaving no stone unturned in training camp.

“We’ve got that under control,” promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports.

“Sparring is something we’ve been working at. First time around we only had four weeks, and three weeks of sparring. We found guys but probably not the guys we really wanted.

“Now the sparring is top class. He is focused and looking great. Eight weeks to go.

“We’re not interested in looking at Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder or anything else. It’s just about winning one of the biggest heavyweight events of all time.”

Joshua has previously denied rumours he had been knocked down in sparring before the first Ruiz Jr fight.

“I feel like people are more interested in their five minutes of fame,” Joshua told AJ: The Untold Truth.

“Even in sparring, everyone wants to be famous, rather than a good fighter.

“You can’t even enjoy your training and work on things without someone trying to make up false allegations and trying to get five minutes of fame.

“You bring someone into your training camp to do them a favour, you’re paying them, nothing like [the knock-down rumour] in that nature has happened, you beat them up in every round, then they go and do an interview.

“It just happens all the time in boxing, there is just a lot of envy.”

Hearn previously explained the difficulty in finding suitable sparring partners.

“It’s so difficult to replicate the style of Andy Ruiz. The guy is 6’1”, he’s 19st, and he’s got speed like a middleweight,” he said.

“It’s one thing getting a sparring partner in, it’s getting them to let their hands go against Anthony Joshua. Would you want to do it? You’ve got to be mad to even spar with him, let alone fight him.

“[Last time] we tried to get the sparring in, we struggled a little bit, no excuses, but this time around the preparation has got to be spot on.”

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