Ruiz v Joshua II: AJ calls on Klitschko advice for defining rematch

By Sports Desk December 05, 2019

Anthony Joshua has been given pointers by old foe Wladimir Klitschko as he looks to regain the unified world heavyweight title against Andy Ruiz Jr.

The previously undefeated Joshua was stunningly floored four times as he ceded the IBF, WBA and WBO belts to Ruiz inside seven rounds at New York's Madison Square Garden in June.

Where his thrilling 2017 win over former long-reigning heavyweight king Klitschko in front of 90,000 people at Wembley represented a career high, his upset loss was a punishing low.

The former foes are now friends and Klitschko has urged Joshua to avoid distractions after undertaking a more-boxing focused training camp for Saturday's rematch in Saudi Arabia.

"Klitschko is a G. He doesn't get enough credit, I think, for everything he's achieved and done," the 30-year-old Briton told his fighter meeting in Diriyah.

"When I fought him, he called me a cross-fit champion. I thought, 'Who's this geezer talking to?'.

"But he just knew that when it came to boxing he was more conditioned because he spent a lot more time in the ring. So we spent a lot more time in the ring this time, understanding ring generalship and the science of boxing.

"He told me to stay off my phone this week, don't listen to too much outside influences because your own belief is what's important this week; not what someone's trying to tell you from the outside."

The result of Joshua leaving the weights room behind is a leaner-looking fighter, who believes he could weigh in below 17 stone for the first time since 2014.

This does not mean he plans to box exclusively on the back foot to avoid Ruiz's blurring fists.

"For me, take centre ring," he replied when asked what the best tactics would be.

"If I'm six inches in front of Ruiz… all it takes for a man to miss a punch is six inches, so sometimes you haven't got to be running around the ring."

Indeed, Joshua mischievously suggested Ruiz would like him to box and move after a brief conversation at Wednesday's news conference.

"I asked him upstairs, 'How do I beat you then?'," he chuckled. "Man, you should move around a little…'.

"I'm 6ft 6, so it would be wrong for me to sit in front of Ruiz and go toe-to-toe hooking.

"I have to box on my attributes, which is range and movement. My boxing style is not what a scared fighter does, it's what a smart fighter would do.

"I'm going to be the smarter fighter on the night. We have to engage to win but I'm going to engage to my benefit."

Another piece of Klitschko advice was for Joshua to take an active role in the direction of his training under Rob McCracken and fighter and trainer are certainly speaking in unison.

"You can't jab and move against Ruiz. It's for the birds," said McCracken – Carl Froch's former cornerman, who has welcomed assistants Angel Fernandez and Joby Clayton into Joshua's camp this time around.

"He's going to come over the top at some point, close the gap and hit you with a right hand to the body.

"You've got to control him. You can't control yourself and him. He's going to pressure you too much.

"If you can move two inches, why move 10 inches? It doesn't make any sense."

Related items

  • Canelo to face mandatory challenger Yildirim in February Canelo to face mandatory challenger Yildirim in February

    Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will be back in the ring on February 27, defending his WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim.  

    Canelo claimed the belts in December, handing Callum Smith his first career defeat as he recorded a unanimous points triumph over the Englishman in San Antonio, Texas.  

    Now the Mexican superstar will head to Florida for his next outing, the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens chosen to stage the clash with Yildirim.  

    While keen to eventually unify the 168-pound division, the 30-year-old must first deal with his mandatory challenger for the WBC strap.  

    "Avni Yildirim is a good boxer and I know we will put on an exciting fight," said Canelo.   

    "I'm very glad that we are able to bring this event to Miami, a short distance from where my hero, Muhammad Ali, trained.   

    "February 27 will be a great night for the sport."

    Yildirim, who owns a 21-2 record as a pro, previously challenged for the vacant WBC belt in February 2019, losing via a technical decision after opponent Anthony Dirrell suffered a cut that forced their bout to be stopped.  

    However, the 29-year-old - whose other loss came against Chris Eubank Jr in 2017 - is ready to go to war as he aims to cause a huge upset.  

    "I am honoured as a mandatory to fight again for the big green belt - thank you to everyone who is involved," Yildirim said in a press release to announce the date. 

    "I always give my all – and everybody should be ready to see a war. I am coming to make my country proud – I am representing the whole of Turkey."

  • Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone

    Sergey Kovalev's bout against Bektemir Melikuziev has been cancelled after the former three-time light-heavyweight world champion failed a drugs test.

    Kovalev returned a positive for synthetic testosterone via a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    The scheduled fight card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indo, California has been pulled by Golden Boy Promotions as a result.

    A statement released by Golden Boy read: "The Kovalev vs Melikuziev boxing event scheduled for January 30 has been cancelled following a positive test for a banned substance (synthetic testosterone) on behalf of Sergey Kovalev through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    "Upon learning of Kovalev's adverse finding, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) determined that they must cancel the event."

    Kovalev has not fought since losing his WBO light-heavyweight title in an 11th-round knockout defeat to Canelo Alvarez in November 2019, a setback that dropped the 37-year-old's professional record to 34 victories (29 knockouts), four defeats and a solitary draw.

    Counting from his first career loss, when Andre Ward edged a close points verdict against Kovalev in 2016, the Russian has won four and lost four of his past eight fights, with the three subsequent losses all coming by stoppage.

    He was scheduled to box former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera on April 25 last year but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that, as it did the original plans for the meeting against Uzbekistan's 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) to take place in Moscow.

  • Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6 Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6

    The heavyweight rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte has been officially confirmed for March 6.

    Povetkin knocked out Whyte in the fifth round of their WBC interim title bout last August and the pair were originally set to meet again in late November at Wembley Arena.

    However, the fight was postponed after the Russian was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

    Promoters Matchroom Boxing has announced a new date has now been set, with the rematch now scheduled for around seven weeks' time.

    The card will take place behind closed doors at a venue that has yet to be confirmed.

    After being laid low by coronavirus last year, Povetkin recently stepped up his training regime as he looks to retain the WBC interim heavyweight title with another victory over Whyte.

    World of Boxing Promotions Company, who represent the 41-year-old, posted on Twitter on Friday: "Alexander has fully recovered and started his training camp on January 12. 

    "He is progressing well in the first stage of his preparation. We hope the second fight will live up to everyone's expectations and that Povetkin will deliver another spectacular finish."

    The winner of the rematch will be in line to face either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua later in 2021 for the heavyweight world title.

    Meanwhile, it was also confirmed on Friday that Josh Warrington, who has not been in action since October 2019, will defend his IBF featherweight belt against Mauricio Lara on February 13.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.