Anthony Joshua 22-1 (21) has opened up about the psychological barrier he has had to overcome ahead of his make-or-break rematch with conqueror Andy Ruiz Jr 33-1 (22) in Saudi Arabia on December 7.
The 30-year-old Brit will attempt to reclaim the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles after losing the belts to Ruiz Jr by seventh-round knockout at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June.
There have been questions from fans and pundits alike about how Joshua will rebound from such a devastating loss.
“Mindset? Mindset’s calm, mindset’s cool,” Joshua said on his YouTube channel. “Killer mindset, that’s all it’s about. Ice cold, stay in the moment, stay disciplined. Just killer.
“I belong here. I deserve to be here. This ain’t new to me, everything we do is only for greatness. That’s just how I’m going to approach my training camps moving forward.
“It’s all an experience and it’s all a process. Boxing’s a sticky and a tricky game mentally.
“Physically is one thing, but there’s highs and lows with this. ‘Do I want to do it? Am I good enough? Am I getting the opportunities I deserve?’
“There’s so many obstacles, but you’ve just got to tell yourself that you belong here and you belong at top level, and when you keep on telling yourself that you’ll soon find yourself in positions that are only for the greats.
“Keep on pushing through barriers and you’ll find yourself in a position, like in a championship camp like this. This is why people are here, because they put themselves in this position.”
Meanwhile, former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has warned Joshua to be prepared to have Ruiz Jr “in his face” all night in the rematch.
“Andy Ruiz Jr really can fight. He has fast hands and can really hit hard. But don’t nobody seem to know it,” Holyfield told World Boxing News.
“Everyone is thinking it’s a fluke [that he beat Joshua], but the guy showed he can get up from being knocked down. He got took down and got back up to win.”
He added: “He will fight that same fight that he fought last time. If he’s (Joshua) not ready to have someone in his face in the whole fight, then it could end up the same way again.”