Andy Ruiz Jr admits losing his Heavyweight world titles to Anthony Joshua was a bitter pill to swallow, but says he has renewed hunger ahead of his return to the ring on May 1.
Ruiz Jr produced one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he climbed off the canvas to stop then-unbeaten unified world champion Joshua in seven rounds at Madison Square Garden in June 2019, having stepped in at late-notice to replace Jarrell Miller, who failed multiple drug tests in the lead-up.
The ‘Destroyer’ was comfortably beaten on points in the immediate rematch six months later in Saudi Arabia and said after the fight that his preparation was hampered by his own ill-discipline having changed his life with victory in the first bout.
The 31-year-old has since switched camps joining Canelo Alvarez and Ryan Garcia under trainer Eddy Reynoso after parting company with Manny Robles and whilst he says the loss was difficult to take, he insists he has a different mindset now as he looks to begin his road to redemption against Chris Arreola next Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park, California on FOX Sports pay-per-view.
“Losing against Anthony Joshua, it was devastating, because I didn’t do the things I was supposed to do,” Ruiz said in a Zoom press conference last month.
“That was the most important fight of my life, but now it’s totally different. Now I’ve got my mind right, I’ve got a great trainer so we’re just ready for May 1, but I was really disappointed because I knew the ability I had to stay champion.
“A lot of people have got to understand that I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life and once that moment happened, I kind of went a little bit off the road.
“I started doing things that I thought I would never be able to do. I wasn’t really focused on the price on the bag.
“I was really devastated, I do not want to go back, I do not want to do the same mistakes that I did before. I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been before.”
The Mexican-American weighed in 15lbs heavier for his second outing with Joshua at 283lbs (20st 3lbs), but has posted photos on social media of his weight transformation for his upcoming clash, his first in nearly 17 months.
Ruiz Jr has top five rankings with three of the four governing bodies and has been linked to future fights with former WBC Heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder and current WBC interim Heavyweight champion, Dillian Whyte who described it as a “joke fight.”
Despite some big-name fights on the horizon, the former Heavyweight world champion insists he is not overlooking former three-time Heavyweight world title challenger, Arreola, 40.
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“After my last defeat against Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia I gained to almost like 310lbs,” Ruiz Jr added.
“We want to be at 255lbs, 250lbs, we don’t want to go too crazy losing weight.
“I’m not looking past Chris Arreola, because he’s a tough fighter, he’s a warrior, he takes a lot of punches and he’s strong. We’ve just got to stick to the gameplan.”