Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2: Sparring intensified for both heavyweights – Andy Ruiz Jr expects Anthony Joshua to have a new 'style'
Ruiz Jr: "We've got sparring partners running around and being slick"
Last Updated: 25/11/19 1:00pm
Andy Ruiz Jr has revealed that he is using "a lot of different sparring partners in case Anthony Joshua tries to switch his style up" in their upcoming rematch.
Both heavyweights have sharpened their tools by majorly revamping sparring options before they collide on December 7, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with the IBF, WBA and WBO belts at stake.
Ruiz Jr climbed off the canvas then floored Joshua four times in a devastating upset earlier this year and now expects his rival to return with new tricks up his sleeve.
"We've got sparring partners running around and being slick," Ruiz Jr exclusively told Sky Sports.
"A lot of people came to me and said that they wanted to help, like Michael Hunter.
"The only thing I'm doing differently is sparring. I've got a lot of different sparring partners in case he tries to switch his style up - in case he tries to box, or keep me away with the jab. We're practicing.
"I've had an almost three-month camp for this fight. We've got more things done. We've practiced what AJ is going to do."
Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn had stressed the need to update his sparring partners in preparation for the rematch. Ruiz Jr was a short-notice replacement in the first fight so, as a result, Joshua had difficulties in sourcing sparring partners to replicate his size and skills.
Joshua also expressed frustrations with rumours, that he denied, that he was knocked down in sparring leading to his defeat against Ruiz Jr.
This time Joshua described his camp to Sky Sports News as: "A good one, an intense one with championship sparring partners. The energy in the camp has been solid. It's been a whole heap of hard work.
"Up the sparring, that's the best way to prepare for a fight. Up the sparring partners. They've been giving me hell. That's the closest thing to a fight - we've been sparring for a long period of time and it gets you battle-hardened. I feel tough. Aches and pains, but for the right reasons. The punches get you battle-ready.
"Any sparring partner, big or small, is doing me a favour by throwing punches. It's important to get punches thrown at you because it teaches you how to defend under pressure. What they're there for is to replicate his style - a good fighter can fight in many styles. They are bringing the heat, and that's what Ruiz Jr does. They bring the heat day-in, day-out but the main thing is getting battle-hardened to the body, forearms, shoulders. Getting conditioned so you can keep walking through fire."
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Joshua's sparring partners have included American heavyweights Timothy Moten (unbeaten in five fights) and Bryant Jennings (a former world title challenger). British contender Tom Little and Andrew Tabiti, a cruiserweight, have also been used. Derek Chisora did one session with Joshua.
"I don't like to say [I will be] different," said Joshua. "I can't say you will see me fight like Mike Tyson or Larry Holmes. I can sharpen my tools as much as I can, and pray that it pays off.
"You will see an improved fighter because I'm not at my peak where I am plateauing. In camp, the guys say: 'you're sharper than you were last week'.
"On the night it will be the best version of me, better than I was six months ago.
"I know I'm in for a tough fight."
Ruiz Jr insisted that he has retained his hunger to win again, saying: "No-one said it's going to be easy. It's never easy. The hardest part is training, getting up in the morning, going for a run, going to the gym. The easiest part is going to perform.
"Of course it will be hard but as long as you have the motivation to win, to conquer something bigger than I already did, then it gives you the advantage to pursue other dreams."
Watch Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua 2 in Saudi Arabia on Saturday December 7, live on Sky Sports Box Office.