Promoter Eddie Hearn has played down rumours that Anthony Joshua 22-1 (21) has been hurt in sparring ahead of his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr 33-1 (22) in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, claiming: “he’s good to go”.
Reports began circulating on Monday that Joshua had been injured in camp. The situation is eerily similar to unsubstantiated reports before the first Ruiz Jr bout that Joey Dawejko dropped him in sparring.
“It’s not even worth answering, but the truth is he’s had a great camp,” Hearn told Behind The Gloves.
“He’s much more focused than last time, he’s sparred really well.
“The difference in this camp is his sparring has been world, world class. He has had top, top guys – Andrew Tabiti, Tyrone Spong, Bryant Jennings, [Dereck] Chisora. Top sparring, who have consistently put pressure on him.
“He hasn’t been hurt, hasn’t been ill, hasn’t been injured. He’s good to go.”
Joshua also laughed off the claims, including those from sparring partner Timothy Moten that the 30-year-old former unified heavyweight champion has been knocking out opponents in his training sessions.
“Me dropping sparring partners? No. Normally it’s the other way around, they are dropping me and sending me home!” Joshua joked to Behind The Gloves.
“No, they are doing a good job, they are with me now. I respect all my sparring partners that come out and get me ready physically, so I appreciate them.
“I don’t really use sparring partners to try to knock them out because they are here to make me better. So no, none of them got sent home.”
Meanwhile Ruiz Jr says he is prepared for a more cautious version of Joshua this time out and has the gameplan in place to counter it.
“I’m expecting that,” he said. “But if he wants to bang, it’s better for me. I love to bang because that’s the fighter that I am. We have to pressure, work the body, break him down. Especially his mentality.
“We’ve got to see where he’s at because all the pressure is on him.
“The pressure isn’t on me because I followed my dream, made my dreams come true. Of course I want more though – I want the legacy of Andy Ruiz Jr.
“People haven’t seen me cut off the ring. I actually break them down even faster when they try to box me around.
“We all have a plan until we get hit, like Mike Tyson would say. I’m pretty sure he will want to box me around.
“One punch can change the fight. That’s what happened on June 1. It might be a little harder than the first time. I’ve got to show my skills, my talent.”
Joshua suffered the first defeat of his career to Ruiz Jr at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden back in June when the Mexican-American dropped him four times to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO championships by seventh round knockout.
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