Anthony Joshua is confident his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. won't go the same way as their first fight. The two will meet in Saudi Arabia on December 7 with the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on the line, with Joshua in the role of challenger after Ruiz took the straps from him following a seventh-round technical knockout back in June.
Looking ahead to making amends, Joshua discussed his past mistakes and his future intentions against Ruiz on Wednesday, per James Dielhenn of Sky Sports: "I know some of the attributes he possesses, and some of the weaknesses. I have to go about exposing him a little bit more. The first time I had him down [in the first fight], I could have been smarter. These little things you think about in your head."
For his part, Ruiz told the same source he will change his emotions once both men step between the ropes: "I am always the nice guy but inside the ring, I [flick] the switch and I become 'The Destroyer.'"
Joshua needs to be more focused in the rematch than he was during the first bout at New York's Madison Square Garden. It's fair to call Ruiz Jr's victory one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history after he caught the champion cold with a straight-ahead attack that yielded some heavy clubbing shots and left Joshua struggling to muster any credible defenses.
Ruiz put Joshua on the canvas on four separate occasions. The latter struggled to deal with a relentless barrage of thunderous body shots, despite dropping the Mexico native with a terrific left hook in the third round.
Joshua often appeared overwhelmed by Ruiz Jr. and his ability to put together flurries of punches. Combinations that worked the body and the head left Joshua reeling, particularly after Ruiz Jr. crashed a glancing right off his temple.
Relying on his superior reach and leading with the jab are the best ways for Joshua to stay away from Ruiz Jr's damaging body work. Joshua will also need to be in the right condition to avoid another scrap at close quarters.
Chisanga Malata @Chisanga_Malata
Anthony Joshua, not Pettis 😂, has well and truly trimmed down ahead of his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. 👀👀 My guess is he wants to be faster and use better footwork in the rematch. ’Showtime’ was on the mind as I just rewatched his win over Benson Henderson 🤦🏾♂️. #boxing https://t.co/2guHBomagJ
Despite Joshua targeting a more measured approach, Ruiz has naturally been growing in confidence since his memorable win. He's promised to triumph "in the same fashion" in Diriyah, per the Guardian's Sean Ingle.
Back in July, the 29-year-old disparaged Joshua's abilities: "The only thing that he can do is just run around, he's not good at boxing."
Ruiz has plenty of motivation to hang onto the titles, but a fully focused Joshua should have the range of movement and punching speed to avoid another shock defeat.