The first stop on the press tour for the WBO/WBA/IBF heavyweight championship rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. (pictured) and Anthony Joshua was held in the same country-- Saudi Arabia-- where the fight will occur on December 7th. Here is what the boxers and their representatives had to say:
Andy Ruiz Jr:
“I’m really happy to be here and I thank everybody. On June 1st I made my dreams come true with a lot of sacrifice, blood and tears. I just believed in myself and I think I am here for a purpose and I just want to tell everybody that if they have a dream they’ve got to follow through with it and everything is possible.
On December 7th, I know that Anthony Joshua is going to come hard, he’s going to come strong and will be preparing really well but so am I. I’m really hungry, a lot of people have been saying that I’m not training or taking it seriously but come on I have all these belts and there is responsibilities to this. I am going to try my best and I’m going to keep these belts and take them back to Mexico. On December 7th, I am going to make history again and win here in the same fashion and the same way that I won on June 1st and I am going to prove everybody wrong.
“The hunger still remains, I don’t want 15 minutes of fame I want this to last for a generation. I want to be a champion for many years and I have a good fighter next to me who is going to try and take these belts but god is with me and we’re going to be training really hard for December 7.
“I expect a tougher test this time round, he is more hungry and wants his belts back but that is what is motivating me and making me more hungry. I want to train harder because I know he is, I only had a month, month and a half, to train for the first fight but this time we have a whole camp so it benefits me. It is going to be an exciting fight, a hell of a fight – two big heavyweights punching each other in the face – tune in December 7th, it’s going to be a hell of a fight.”
Andy Ruiz Sr (Ruiz's father and manager):
“First of all I want to thank all the people from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I felt so proud of my son when he won the fight – it was a dream that we had when he was six years old. I believe that dreams come true, I have been working for this and thinking who was going to be champion of the world. I had a dream I was going to have my Mexican Rocky and then it came true so I feel so happy and thankful to Eddie Hearn for this opportunity.”
Manny Robles, trainer of Andy Ruiz Jr:
“First of all thank you to everyone, the media and the country of Saudi Arabia for having us here in the city of Diriyah. This is an incredible country with very nice people and thank you for the warm welcome. It’s time to turn the page, dreams do come true but now it is a reality and it’s time to go to work. I can promise everybody and the fans here and across the world that Andy will be ready – he will be ready for the challenge. We respect Anthony Joshua and his team, he is a great fighter and we know that he is going to bring it, so that is the reason why we need to be at our best come December 7. It’s part two, it’s a continuation of part one. Both fighters know each other and know what to expect from one another so there will be changes. We will have more time to prepare this time around and we have begun our preparation – there will be some changes and you can expect a better, faster, leaner and stronger Andy Ruiz than we saw the first time around.”
Anthony Joshua :
“Thank you all for your hospitality, to the people and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I never thought that I would be fighting outside of London or America so it is a blessing and I am humbled to be here. With the fight, I feel that I was up against a good challenger at the time and I was only champion until June 1, as Andy is champion now, that will last until December 7 when he has to put his titles in the air and two warriors will go to war and the best man will walk out victorious. I am really looking forward to the challenge and I am glad the people here are supporting boxing. Some may support me, others may support Andy, but at the end of the day we are going to have a really good night of boxing and that is what we are all here for.
“My parents and their heritage is from Nigeria and I was born in England. I started boxing when I moved to London and my cousin was training. I was only doing it as a mindset thing. I needed to change my mindset when I was younger, I was getting in some sorts of trouble and I wasn’t really focused on my education as such. Being around the older generation and the wise generation they gave me advice and a lot of game that I could use on my day to day life and I started thinking as an individual. In three years from being a novice in the gym I was competing at the Olympics and by that point I had been to so many countries around the world representing Great Britain.
“I turned professional and based myself in England where I won the gold medal and I have been competing out of Great Britain ever since until I went to America when I lost my titles. I should say ‘the’ titles because I believe that being a champion is more than just having belts which I have always said, being a champion has responsibilities and it’s about having a championship mindset. The belts will go in the air and we will fight for them again and this time around it’s not London, it’s not America, it is Saudi Arabia.”
Robert McCracken, trainer of Anthony Joshua:
“This is heavyweight boxing, we’ve seen it time and time again. Andy is a very good fighter and is the World Heavyweight Champion and Anthony is now challenging – it’s turned completely on its head. AJ is driven and determined to get those titles back so it’s going to be exciting and interesting to see. It is going to be challenging for both fighters but I think it will be a challenge they will look forward to, certainly Anthony is looking forward to it, he’s excited already. It’s December so it will be a little bit cooler which should suit both fighters and it will certainly suit Anthony and he will be prepared. He will be in tip-top shape and he knows that Ruiz is a tremendous champion, but he is a tremendous challenger and he’s aiming to win those belts back on December 7th.”