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Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz II: ‘I’m punching like a horse kick’

Anthony Joshua says he is “punching like a horse kicking backwards” and holds “no fear” going into his highly anticipated rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr.

At a charged news conference next to the Diriyah Arena where the two fight in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Ruiz, 30, warned there is “no way” he will lose.

Joshua added he will weigh in lighter than the 17st 9lbs he posted before his New York defeat as part of a new plan.

“I may be less than 17 stone,” he told BBC Sport.

“I’m punching loose and heavy – rhythm and flow,” the 30-year-old added. “Before I was trying to bench-press a house. I used my body to get where I needed but then I started realising the sweet science of the sport.

“I am punching like a horse kicking backwards right now.”

Anthony Joshua
Joshua was still more than a stone lighter than Andy Ruiz when he weighed in at 17st 9lbs for their fight in June

Mind games, no fear and team chants

Joshua has not weighed less than 17st since 2014 and 5 Live analyst Steve Bunce said his projected weight was a “stunning revelation”.

Ruiz, perhaps playing mind games, arrived at the news conference sporting a New York Knicks jersey. Joshua was housed in the changing room of the NBA franchise for the first bout, where he suffered one of the most shocking defeats in heavyweight history and lost the IBF, WBA and WBO world titles.

Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua
The fight is promoted by Eddie Hearn (centre)

As the pair faced off, Joshua’s team shouted “two times” behind him in reference of his chance to win the world titles for a second time. Ruiz’s team responded, shouting “and still” as the camera flashes lit up both men.

Joshua, who had his final six-round spar on Tuesday, was asked if winning the belts back would be a career high and replied: “I was asked if it will be a special moment and said ‘no’ as I know I belong there.

“When I got back from New York, I didn’t lose any heart or fire in my belly and started punching the heavy bag preparing for this day. There is no fear in my heart, my eyes or mind, I am confident.”

Ruiz’s pledge and Hearn’s defiant stance

The venue for the news conference and fight – on the outskirts of Riyadh in Diriyah – are flanked by a fairground and a stage that will host US artist Usher and Chris Brown on Friday.

The world’s best-paid fighter Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson are expected to attend a fight that has been widely criticised as a result of the host country’s human rights record.

Those involved have made no secret of the financial motivation to come here – with Joshua set to earn upwards of £50m – and promoter Eddie Hearn defiantly told reporters it was “a wonderful, wonderful decision”. –