Anthony Joshua: Why I will not celebrate when I regain my belts

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia will host what is regarded as one of the biggest sporting events to ever be staged in the Middle East, the highly-anticipated Heavyweight World Championship fight dubbed ‘Clash on the Dunes’. The hype before the bout has reached crescendo level.

Anthony Joshua said at a joint pre-fight press conference on Wednesday he would not celebrate if he beats Andy Ruiz to regain his world heavyweight title at their rematch in Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Saturday.

Joshua seeks to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles that he lost to Ruiz in a shock June defeat in New York.

Anthony Joshua (right) and Andy Ruiz Jr at the pre-fight press conference on Wednesday /Photo: Diriyah Season

The Nigerian-British boxer, 30, said he was “hungry, determined and focused” as he appeared alongside Ruiz in a press conference in Diriyah, close to the Saudi capital Riyadh. “I am not here to put on a show, I am here to win,” he said.

“When I regain those belts… I am going to keep calm, stay focused. It’s not a time to celebrate. It’s a time to keep that challenger mindset and move on to the next target.”

Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the fight will be staged on Saturday/Photo: Diriyah Seasons

But Ruiz insisted he would stay unbeaten. “There’s no way that I’m going to let these belts go,” he said.

“I am going to die trying and do anything that’s possible.”

Ruiz said all the pressure was on Joshua ahead of the rematch, which takes place on Saturday, 7 December.

Kola Tella

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