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Anthony Joshua: Andy Ruiz Jr "the best heavyweight out there"

Joshua: Ruiz
© Reuters
The pair will meet in a rematch on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.

Anthony Joshua believes he must beat the "best heavyweight out there" to regain his world titles from Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua surrendered his IBF, WBA and WBO belts to the Mexican following one of the biggest shocks in boxing history on his American debut in New York in June.

The 29-year-old Briton has a swift chance to avenge the first loss of his professional career when the pair meet for a hotly-anticipated rematch on December 7 in Saudi Arabia.

"My fights are never what you call cherry-picking in boxing," said Joshua at a press conference in London.

"They are the elite of the elite, top of the crop, that little bit of motivation now when I am fighting someone who has the skill set and is the champion.

"It's not like I'm fighting someone that is a stepping stone to a champion.

"You can't overlook Andy and his talent and his successes in the ring because I am fighting the best out there right now. In my opinion, Andy Ruiz is the best heavyweight out there.

Andy Ruiz Jr knocks down Anthony Joshua in their first meeting in New York
Andy Ruiz Jr knocks down Anthony Joshua in their first meeting in New York (Nick Potts/PA).

"When that bell goes, we are going to get down and dirty and I can't wait to trade some leather."

Ruiz knocked down Joshua four times to land a seventh-round stoppage win at Madison Square Garden on June 1.

The 29-year-old, who was born in America but fights under the Mexican flag, was a late replacement for the bout after Jarrell Miller failed multiple drug tests.

Former Olympic champion Joshua faced criticism and accusations of complacency following the unexpected loss but insists he has a relentless desire to return to the top of the sport.

"Motivation – it's never going to leave. I was watching a documentary on the way here. It was about another boxer, they were talking about, 'Man, all I want to do is become a champion'," said Joshua.

"And when they got to that stage, it was like they had nothing else to live for, so motivation was capped.

"The motivation is forever within me. Once I've got my purpose of life organised, I can do anything and that motivation will remain the same.

"Put me on the street to clean graffiti off the wall, I want to make sure that my graffiti cleaning is better than yours."

Anthony Joshua says his defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr has not changed his character
Anthony Joshua says his defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr has not changed his character (Steven Paston/PA).

While Joshua admits losing his crowns to Ruiz means he must make some changes to his preparation, he has no intention of altering his perceived nice guy image.

"I could come up here and start talking in a different manner and in a different fashion to what you are used to due to the fact that I don't sit here as the current champion," he continued.

"But I felt like circumstances shouldn't change character. We are who we are.

"I've got to make a few changes in my lifestyle now to correct and align them again, so come December 7 I'm shooting straight and I know where I'm headed. And that's towards these titles.

Andy Ruiz Jr shows off the belts he won from Anthony Joshua
Andy Ruiz Jr shows off the belts he won from Anthony Joshua (Steven Paston/PA).

"At the minute, they are just out or reach, but sooner or later I will be able to touch them again."

World champion Ruiz compared the prospect of Joshua taking back the titles to someone attempting to steal breakfast cereal from his children.

"I know AJ wants to get these belts back, they're mine," said the California-born fighter.

"Of course, I still have that hunger. I just got these belts, you think I want to lose them right away?

"I've been doing this since I was six-years-old. This is the only thing I know to do, besides working with my dad in construction, being in the sun – I don't want to do that s***.

"I feel Anthony's trying to take my kids' Cheerios, you know?. That's what gives me that extra motivation.

"The only motivation I have right now is for my kids and my loved ones, so if someone's going to try and take that away from, I am going to die trying (to defend it)."

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