I will fight champion Ruiz anywhere: Joshua

LONDON • While the search for the stage for their next bout continues, former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is in bullish mood over his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr later this year.

He suffered his first defeat as a professional against Ruiz on June 1, surrendering his World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organisation world titles at Madison Square Garden in New York.

His promoter wants the rematch to be at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff but the Briton told Sky Sports on Tuesday: "It doesn't matter where it is. I don't mind fighting in America, I've done it before."

Outlining his confidence, he added: "I'd fight in Tijuana and Ruiz's uncle could be the referee and I would still whoop him."

He was shocked in seven rounds by Ruiz, the American with Mexican heritage, who was eager to take him up on the offer, tweeting, "prove it, let's run it in Mexico".

Joshua, who won Olympic gold in the super heavyweight category at London 2012, admitted that home comforts could swing some advantages his way.

"Walking out in Cardiff in front of 70, 80, 90,000 people screaming and rooting for you to win, that type of energy that goes through your body is unstoppable, and that could give me that little bit of edge I need to win those belts.

"I would love it to be in Cardiff but it's going to be on neutral ground, Ruiz is the champ so he will make some calls but I'm going to battle for it to be in the UK because it's my stomping ground."

He has revealed his intention to add new members to his backroom team ahead of training for the rematch, in a bid to restore his enthusiasm for the sport.

"I need to be around as many boxing people as possible because right now, I need to soak in the experience and knowledge and get that passion back," he said.

"It's a fight I know I can win and that's what makes it important.

"I'm going straight for the titles, there's Ruiz and he's got what I want, the titles, so let's get it on."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2019, with the headline 'I will fight champion Ruiz anywhere: Joshua'. Print Edition | Subscribe