Anthony Joshua unveiled a more athletic and less musclebound physique before warning Andy Ruiz Jr that their rematch will be “a marathon not a sprint”.
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Joshua’s hint at dragging his conqueror into the later rounds will be put to the test on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with ring-walks from 8.30pm.
“It’s about who uses their time more wisely,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “Away from the bright lights of the media after I took my loss, it was a time to reflect and that’s what I did.
“The changes I’ve made will make it very difficult for Ruiz Jr in the rematch.
“Everyone talks about change but us fighters have a spark in us. I fine-tuned.
“It’s a marathon not a sprint, and I will be victorious.
“The main thing is about being in control of every situation.
“I know how good I am. I dedicate my life to boxing so it will be no surprise when I win. This is all I’ve got so when I do amazing things I keep my head on my shoulders, and my feet on the ground. I know I’m capable of doing it but it’s about doing it in those 36 minutes.”
“If it was me, I would have knocked the guy out – but [my brother] is more diplomatic than me!” @DillianWhyte
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) December 3, 2019
Former champion Joshua was unshaven with longer hair and looked noticeably slimmer during Tuesday’s public workout in Saudi Arabia, as the intensity of the week continues to build towards the world heavyweight title rematch.
Asked if he would be lighter than the 17st 9lbs he weighed-in before losing to Ruiz Jr, Joshua explained: “I would be three months in the gym, three months promoting. This time I spent six months in the gym and that’s why you see a boxer’s lean physique.”
From ringside Dave Coldwell said: “He looks slender and sleek. He looks built for speed and mobility. The elasticity of his muscles looks better. We will see a faster and better-balanced AJ. I think he’s under 17 stone.”
Spencer Oliver added: “I’ve known him since he was 18 and he looks slimmer now than he was before the Olympics. The only reason to come in light is, I believe, to stick and move. Not sit in the pocket.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn insisted that another defeat would not damage Joshua’s career beyond repair.
“Win, lose or draw he has a future,” said Hearn. “If he loses this fight? He will have had 24 fights, lost to one man, and unified the division twice.