With his body again looking as if it could have been sculpted by Phidias, Anthony Joshua weighed in at his lightest since 2014 for Saturday night’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. But while a slimline Joshua tipped the scales at 16st 13lb, 10lbs less than he was for the pair’s first meeting in June, Ruiz came in at a gargantuan 20st 3lb – 15lb more than six months ago when he shocked the world at Madison Square Garden.
Russian Nikolai Valuev is the only boxer to have weighed more for a world heavyweight title fight – though he was seven-feet tall. Anthony Joshua strolled to the scales looking relaxed with headphones on and chewing gum, he said he is not taking anything for granted despite his opponent looking out of shape.
“I feel good,” he said. “The weigh-in is important but for heavyweights, it doesn’t really matter. It’s about the skills that pay the bills and that leads to victory, it’s not so much about the weight.”
When asked whether his opponent was too heavy, Joshua shook his head. “Not really, he’s a big lad. They should make a super-heavyweight division because there is that much of a vast difference. The art of the game is to hit and not get hit, avoid them punches. Imagine how being three stone heavier and everyone saying how fast he is, I’ll definitely be beating him to the punch.”
Anthony Joshua 30, will be paid about 60 million pounds for the controversial rematch in Saudi Arabia while his opponent will be paid 13 million pounds. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn insisted money was secondary to reclaiming his belts.
“I don’t know if he has wanted it so bad before,” said Hearn. “When he lost he wasn’t in a great place for weeks after. But he’s really got his head screwed on. It’s ‘I’ve got to win this fight’ not just ‘It’s a lot of money and I’ve got to take it’.”
Hearn also warned it would be wrong to assume Joshua had lost weight to keep the fight at a distance. “He feels amazing, he is punching faster and sharper than he has ever done before,” he said. “There is no intention to box for 12 rounds. He will box Ruiz and be smart, but he also wants to punish him and hurt him when he gets the opportunity to do so. You are going to see a vicious performance.”
The promoter again defended the decision to take the fight to Saudi Arabia, despite growing criticism from human rights organizations including Amnesty International. “It has just been the most amazing experience I have ever been involved with,” Hearn told the Guardian. “People say, what does Saudi know about boxing? They have TVs. They have the internet. They watch the sport. And they are very tech-savvy and young.”
Culled from TheGuardian