Ahead of his much-anticipated rematch with Mexican, Andy Ruiz Jnr, in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Anthony Joshua has said that he is more interested in earning back his respect than winning the belts he lost to Ruiz.
The Nigerian-born British heavyweight boxer had endured all sorts of criticism since falling to a shock defeat in New York against Ruiz.
Joshua said, “I’ve had time to reflect. It took me three weeks to come to terms with the loss.
“I’m taking it even more serious now so I can go up yet another level.
“I don’t often look at the belts. I don’t have a big trophy cabinet at home. I don’t show them off at night clubs. That’s not me. I’ve always said the belt should never define the man.
“It’s really about a championship mindset, a championship spirit. I walked as a champion before ever I got a belt. I walk as a champion now. I will walk as a champion after I beat Ruiz. That’s my mindset going into this fight.”
Joshua and Ruiz are reported to have trimmed off muscle and fat, respectively, in an effort to be fastest to the draw in a fight few expect to go the distance.
The extra speed of Ruiz – of hand as well as foot – enabled him to come back from a third-round knockdown in New York to drop Joshua four times en route to finishing him in the seventh, according to the Daily Mail.
Joshua has no intention of retiring, win or lose.
He added, “I still have more to prove to myself. That’s where the hunger still comes from.”