Joshua vs Ruiz 2: Was AJ rocked in sparring again?
Fight week has officially begun for the highly anticipated rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr., which is slated to take place this Saturday, December 7th, at the newly erected Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia!! The return bout comes just six months after their first meeting, in which AJ was upset by the motivated California based puncher.
And like "sands through the hourglass" the boxing rumor mill is already grinding out a mixed bag of gossip!!
Despite hearing positive and encouraging reports from verified sparring partners Timothy Moten and Dereck Chisora, several periodicals have recently reported that the former champ from Watford, UK, was "significantly hurt" during training camp by an undisclosed fighter.
What does this mean?
Maybe nothing, but perhaps quite a bit.
Immediately following Joshua's first professional loss, which took place at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City, USA, on June 1st, 2019, "World Boxing News" made the claim that the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner was knocked out by 5'10" journeyman Joey Dawejko in camp prior to his first fight with Andy Ruiz Jr.
Philadelphia's Joey Dawejko helped Joshua prepare for the latter's first bout with Andy Ruiz.
The fact that Dawejko refused to publicly confirm or deny the KO claim seemed to somewhat validate the shocking story to many interested observers, and raised even more questions about Joshua's physical and emotional state leading into his first bout with Ruiz.
So is it any surprise that similar rumors would be circulating through the boxing community once again as we kick off fight week?
Of course not.
Joshua vs Ruiz 2
WBA/IBF/WBO Heavyweight Title
December 07, 2019
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Broadcast: DAZN, Sky Box Office HD
When asked whether or not the 30-year-old Briton was indeed hurt during camp, promoter Eddie Hearn laughed at the inquiry.
"Where did that one come from," asked the managing director of Matchroom Sport during an interview with Marcos Villegas of FightHub TV.
"That's the first time I've heard that rumor...this time around. I saw him spar twelve rounds last week, and he's sparring guys who are super, super fast."
"He's sparring Andrew Tabiti...Cruiserweight, who is much faster than Ruiz, and it is difficult for him. But that style is never going to be easy for a 6'6" Heavyweight, and that's why we brought him in."
"With all due respect to the guys who are sparring him, with the headgear on (and 16-ounce gloves), Tabiti is not going to be hurting Anthony Joshua, in my opinion."
And according to undefeated Heavyweight Timothy Moten, who also served as a sparring partner for the former champion, Josh has been dominant while he's been in camp.
"There have been guys here, I don't want to say any names, but I've seen guys come into camp, get blown away and get sent home that same week," claimed the 5'11" Heavyweight when he spoke with DailyMail UK last week.
Moten, who has reportedly worked over 60 rounds with Joshua in camp, insists that the former champion is focused and in a good place mentally.
"He's got a bunch of guys here that are just perfect, because everybody is pushing him and we are getting the best out of him and you'll see the results on fight night."
Keep in mind, his promoter, as well as the fighters Joshua paid to work with him in camp aren't going to say anything negative to the always intrusive media in the weeks leading up to the fight. But if AJ were indeed "significantly hurt" while training, when one considers what's currently on the line and how his last meeting with Ruiz ended, would he really be willing to go through with the fight in Saudi Arabia?
When you consider how much he'll be earning for one night's work...probably. According to numerous reports, the seven-year professional earned an estimated $32 million for seven rounds of work in June and is projected to potentially gross more than double that amount this Saturday night.
I think most fighters would easily be willing to fight through injury for that much money.
So what can we deduce from these conflicting reports?
Not much...or maybe a lot.
Do you think AJ is better prepared this time? If so, will it make a difference?
The truth will eventually be revealed this Saturday night in Saudi Arabia!!