By: Hans Themistode
Since losing his Heavyweight world titles, Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) has been given plenty of time to reflect. Six months to be exact. He has assessed what went wrong on June 1st, earlier this year against Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs) and looks forward to righting what he believes should never have happened in the first place.
Joshua was given one final time before the weigh in and subsequent fight, to take a look at Andy Ruiz Jr as they hosted a press conference in Saudi Arabia.
It was your typical presser but yet, something looked odd. That peculiar image came from Joshua as he sat in his seat at the presser with no titles in front of him. It was the first time since 2016 that Joshua no longer had a championship title placed in front of him.
It’s an unfamiliar sight, but one that he knows very well.
“It’s interesting to be on this side of the table but I’m used to this position,” said Joshua. “Even when you are champion you have to have a challenger mindset. It feels like my 16th fight so I go back to that and I’m hungry, determined and focused on the goal.”
When a once proud champion tastes defeat for the first time in his or her career, the questions always seem to surface regarding whether or not they have lost a piece of themselves in the ring. Is their desire and will to win still as prevalent as it was before? In this case, the answer is an emphatic yes.
“I didn’t lose any heart, I didn’t lose any fire in my belly. I’m actually really looking forward to it. There’s no fear in my heart, no fear in my eyes, no fear in my mind. I’m just looking forward to putting on a show and I’m confident. The focus has always been there.”
Naturally, with such a massive event, it needed a venue to match. The city of Diriyah located in Saudi Arabia has played its part in delivering on a platform that is well suited for this level of a contest.
“This is the real Mecca of boxing. We are going to turn this into something special. I went to the venue and it is perfectly designed. I said my prayers and I took the time to really embrace what is going to happen on Saturday night.”
Everything about this moment just screams special. This is after all, a Heavyweight contest between two of the best that the division has to offer with the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles up for grabs. The winner of this bout will remember being apart of history. That might be your take on it, but not for the former champion.
“It won’t be a special moment because I know I belong here. When I regain those belts, I’m going to keep calm and remain focused. It’s not a time to celebrate. I have to keep a challenger mindset and move on to the next target.”
The former champion might speak of his challenger mindset, however, make no mistake about it. He wants nothing more than to regain his spot on the Heavyweight throne.
“I never came to take part I came to take over. I’m not here to put on a show. I’m here to win.”