Anthony Joshua's team has already identified ideal sparring partners ahead of Andy Ruiz Jr rematch
"We tried to get the sparring in, we struggled a little bit, no excuses, but this time around the preparation has got to be spot on."
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 06/09/19 12:30pm
Anthony Joshua's team already have sparring plans in place for the Andy Ruiz Jr rematch after finding it hard to replicate the Mexican ahead of the first fight.
Britain's heavyweight star has started to prepare for his second world title fight against Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on December 7, live on Sky Sports Box Office, as Joshua attempts to avenge his shock New York defeat in June.
Ruiz Jr stepped in as a late replacement after Jarrell Miller failed a drug test and promoter Eddie Hearn admits the change of opponent was not ideal for Joshua's training camp, but the Matchroom Boxing boss revealed how early attempts have now been made to arrange suitable sparring partners.
"It's so difficult to replicate the style of Andy Ruiz," Hearn told Sky Sports. "The guy is 6'1", he's 19st, and he's got speed like a middleweight.
"It's one thing getting a sparring partner in, it's getting them to let their hands go against Anthony Joshua. Would you want to do it? You've got to be mad to even spar with him, let alone fight him.
"We've got more heavyweights than anyone. I don't really want them helping out Andy Ruiz. We've already identified probably half-a-dozen guys who we think are the right mould.
There's six, seven guys we've already identified and hopefully they make the trip and we can get the absolute best preparation this time around.
"One of the problems last time was we had six weeks to prepare. Ruiz was coming off Alexander Dimitrenko, which was actually a great style to prepare for Anthony Joshua.
"We tried to get the sparring in, we struggled a little bit, no excuses, but this time around the preparation has got to be spot on. There's six, seven guys we've already identified and hopefully they make the trip and we can get the absolute best preparation this time around."
Joshua and Ruiz Jr will be reunited again at Friday's press conference in London and the challenger has warned that he fully intends to regain his belts.
"I lost in the World Championship finals. Imagine I stopped then, there would be no now," said Joshua.
"Stopping isn't in my DNA. As long as I have breath, I will keep fighting for the passion of boxing and more so as an ambassador for championship-level fighting. That's where I belong.
"I was born with a fighting spirit. I know how to fight.
"People say, 'you lost your titles'. I say, 'to lose something is to never get it back'.
"I have a second chance on December 7. I didn't have a warm-up fight, I'm not gun-shy.
Follow Sky Sports digital platforms for full coverage of the London press conference on Friday.