Heavyweight king Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) of the United Kingdom and dangerous Mexican challenger Andy Ruiz, Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) worked out in front of a packed crowd at Brookfield Place in New York’s Financial District just days before their heavyweight title tilt at Madison Square Garden. Joshua will defend his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO World Heavyweight Championship titles against Ruiz on Saturday, June 1, at Madison Square Garden and exclusively on DAZN.
On the stacked undercard of Joshua’s U.S. debut, undefeated WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) will make his first title defense against former Middleweight World Champion Hassan N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs). Earlier in the evening, Katie Taylor (13-0, 6 KOs) will face Delfine Persoon (43-1, 18 KOs) to crown the undisputed World Female Lightweight Champion. Taylor owns the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while Persoon holds the WBC strap.
All fight week events will be streamed on the DAZN platform and social media channels. For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.
On training in Miami: “I stayed out of the clubs. I went down to South Beach one day for some lunch which was nice but other than that, it was straight gym work. The way the team sets up my training is that I only have one day off in between, never two back-to-back days off. When you have two back-to-back days off, you have one day for turning up and one day for recovery. So all my recovery was based around that one day so I had no time to mess around.”
On Andy Ruiz, Jr. compared to Jarrell Miller: “I can’t really tell you because I never boxed Miller. Miller was a steady contest because of his punch rate and his physical size, you can’t deny that in the ring. But Ruiz, he’s more of a sound, well-balanced guy. He keeps his feet underneath him and has good head movement. You throw the right hand and he will just duck it, come under and hook you twice. He’s got that kind of confidence in his ability that he can counter-punch and he’s not afraid to have punches coming at his face and slipping them to get back to you. He’s not a scared fighter at all.”
On his United States welcoming: “I should be out there with the people! That’s what I am here to do, to meet people and all for the love of boxing. It is not just about me. It’s about the next show, about the GGG show, whatever is happening on DAZN. It’s just about connecting with the people so they can go back home and say, ‘You heard about DAZN and their boxing?’ And then the sport rises. This is bigger than me.”
On fighting at Madison Square Garden: “I am just rolling with the punches and not trying to get caught up in the hype of it all. The main time when you enjoy it is after the fight. God willing, I win. Then I will look and say, ‘Wow, I’ve really done it at Madison Square Garden.’ I just don’t want to take part, I want to own the night. And that’s why I need to win.”
On managing fighters on the undercard: “I’m fighting, managing fighters. Everything rolled into one. One aspect of the night into another aspect. My winning is their winning then it’s easier for them to do their job. I remember I was fighting on other people’s undercards as well and if I never said it, I want to thank those people for giving me the exposure to be in the position that I am in right now.”
On his entrance music: “I’ve been thinking about it. Thinking about the ‘Dipset Anthem.’ Possibly Meek Mill’s ‘Dreams and Nightmares.’ It has to be something from the east coast. Maybe Biggie. The song inspires but so does the crowd. They give that energy, too. I remember in the Olympics, I had been fighting only two-and-a-half years and then I’m in the Olympics so I am thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ I remember trying to block out the energy of the crowd. But it’s impossible, you use to much energy trying to do that. So I just absorb all that energy, take that frequency and bring it into the ring. You can’t block it out, you need to absorb.”
On Deontay Wilder’s first-round knockout: “Oh, that was a good one, that was a good one! I am going to be in there in the first round trying to knock out Ruiz but if it don’t happen, it don’t happen. But as long as I get the win, it puts me on that path. And like I have said before, I think Wilder and I need to sit down man to man and talk about how we get this fight made.”
On being the underdog: “Everyone has always doubted me. But look, I came so far, coming from a small town, a small city and now I am doing great things. I am fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the world. I’m here to make history and to become the first Mexican Heavyweight Champion.”
On the pressure of fighting Anthony Joshua: “There’s a lot of pressure on me but I think Anthony Joshua has more to lose fighting a dangerous fighter like me. I am a better opponent than all of the other opponents they were talking about. I am here to win it all.”
On being distracted by a possible Canelo fight: “The fact is, with Canelo, is that if I slip up on Saturday night, that fight doesn’t happen. That’s gone. So that’s what keeps me motivated – that I have to come here this Saturday and win to keep those massive fights alive. I’m fully focused on June 1st. I’m in a very good place and I had a great training camp.”
On fighting at Madison Square Garden: “This is another amazing moment and that’s what I am in boxing for. I want big nights and big fights. Winning the WBSS tournament was a special night and defending that title at Madison Square Garden would be special as well. That is what is keeping me in boxing, that stuff excites me and motivates me.”
On fighting Hassan N’Dam: “He is a good opponent, a very experienced opponent and a former World Champion. Only the very best have beat him. But I believe that I am one of the very best and I should be good enough to beat him. This is no easy fight because he is a tough customer. I am expecting a tough fight and prepared for the best possible Hassan N’Dam. But if the best version of me turns up, I beat the any version of him.”
On being the standout on Saturday’s card: “Hopefully. I hope to steal some headlines and impress with a good knockout or impressive win. But it’s a very good show, some of Britain’s best on the bill. Katie Taylor is on the show and is a special talent fighting for the undisputed lightweight crown. Josh Kelly and Josh Buatsi are both great prospects. It’s a great show for the fight fans.”
On whether he will stay at 168: “I believe I can do both, I can stay here or move up. I believe I can stay at 168 and fight some good champions and hopefully wait for the Canelo fight. Then when I’ve fully satisfied, I can move up to 175. That’s definitely a possibility but there’s still a lot to achieve at 168. 175 is an interesting division because they are all pretty much as good as each other and there are no standouts. It’s a very good division and one that I could look to enter in a year or two. But 168 is my division right now.”
On fighting for the undisputed lightweight crown: “It is amazing to be here. I’ve had to pinch myself that I am fighting for the undisputed championship of the world in just a few days. I know how big of a challenge it is and how tough of an opponent she is. This is why I have trained so hard over these past few years. I have locked myself away over these last few months and went through the trenches to prepare.”
On taking the open workout seriously: “I figure that I should get something out of it if I am here. Just looking at the big crowd here, you can’t help but get excited about this big fight night. I am just hyped up right now.”
On feeling pressure: “There’s a little bit of pressure but pressure is a privilege. It’s just great to be in this position and I would rather be in this position than not. I am going to fight for the undisputed championship in front of so many Irish people but I have dealt with this kind of pressure before.”
On her rise to this spot: “My goal has always been to become the undisputed champion of the world. This isn’t going to be an easy fight, this is going to be the hardest fight of my career. This is a tough, tough challenge, but these are the types of fights that I love as well.”
12-Round Heavyweight Championship Bout
Anthony Joshua – 247.0 lbs.
Andy Ruiz, Jr. – 268.0 lbs.
12-Round WBA Super World Middleweight Title Bout @ 168 lbs.
Callum Smith – 167.6 lbs
Hassan N’Dam – 166.0 lbs.
10-Round Female Lightweight Unification Title Bout @ 135 lbs.
Katie Taylor – 134.6 lbs.
Delfine Persoon – 130.6 lbs.
10-Round WBA International Welterweight Title Bout @ 147 lbs.
Josh Kelly – 146.4 lbs.
Ray Robinson – 146.0 lbs.
10- Round Light Heavyweight Bout @ 175 lbs.
Joshua Buatsi – 174.0 lbs.
Marc Antonio Periban – 172.0 lbs.
10–Round Vacant WBO International Super Lightweight Title Bout @ 140 lbs.
Chris Algieri – 139.8 lbs.
Tommy Coyle – 139.6 lbs.
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