Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua is primed to deliver memorable performance
Ring-walks from 8.45pm on Saturday - 'The biggest heavyweight fight of the century'
Last Updated: 05/12/19 9:36pm
Anthony Joshua's "back is against the wall", according to promoter Eddie Hearn, who has issued a rallying cry on behalf of the former champion who “wants to claim back what is rightfully his".
Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr are in Saudi Arabia and have seen the 15,000-seat purpose-built arena where, on Saturday night with ring-walks from 8.30pm, they will fight again for the world heavyweight championships, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Asked about Joshua's mentality before the rematch, Hearn said: "I loved it. He wants this bad. His back is against the wall.
"He has prepared better than he's ever prepared because he's fighting a guy who beat him, and knocked him down four times at Madison Square Garden in front of the world.
"He wants to claim back what is rightfully his.
"There is no warm-up fight, no getting back into the swing of things. He said: 'I want this fight now'.
"It is very dangerous, fighting a confident guy who will think: 'I must get into range and let my hands go against Anthony'.
"Anthony has to be disciplined but also hurt Ruiz Jr.
"This is one of the biggest heavyweight fights of all year, the biggest fight of the year and the decade. The biggest heavyweight fight of the century.
"I'm nervous and excited, but pumped after seeing AJ because he is pumped. I haven't seen him like this for a long time.
"He is ready, he is hungry. I see that bad kid again, and I love it."
Joshua, who lost his unbeaten record and the IBF, WBA and WBO gold in New York to Ruiz Jr six months ago, has been forced to fend off conspiracy theories about his first defeat.
He has denied that he was hurt in sparring leading to a subdued performance, he has batted off criticism of his trainer Rob McCracken, and has admitted that complacency was a factor before the first fight.
Hearn said: "He has gone from being a much-loved superstar to 'Joshua is overrated'. This is a good man. He has given his life to the sport. Don't write him off because, right now, he has his back against the wall and maybe a chip on his shoulder to show the world that he is the king.
"He has an opportunity to do it, but it won't be easy. If he does it, I will be so proud of him.
"I'm already proud of how he's come back because nobody was hurting more than him. Don't worry about the arm around Ruiz Jr and the handshake, that's called respect. If you want to be an ambassador you can't sulk in defeat. No-one hurt more than Joshua after the defeat.
"He has had sleepless nights but has rolled up his sleeves, and is going for it."
The Diriyah Arena
Construction on this purpose-built 15,000-seat arena began on October 7 and used almost 300 tons of steel to cover an area of 10,000 sqm at the center of historic UNESCO heritage site.
Watch Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 5pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.