Andy Ruiz, who challenges the unbeaten Anthony Joshua for his three world heavyweight title belts at Madison Square Garden on June 1, says that he has been working on techniques used by Mike Tyson when he fought larger heavyweights and will try to to exploit "a lot of weaknesses" he has identified in the champion's style.
“I’ve seen a lot of weaknesses in him and I’ve seen him working on them. The main thing is to stick to the game plan. I don’t want to say too much about his weaknesses. I’ve just got to improvise and exploit them when the bell rings,” explained the 29-year-old Mexican-American in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph.
“We’ve seen a lot of videos of Mike Tyson. We’re working on some of the moves he did so I can get to Anthony Joshua. The main thing is we’ve got to stay focused and prepared. Get ready for anything and stay in shape.”
Ruiz, beaten just once on points by the former WBO champion Joseph Parker in a 32-fight career believes many of his opponents underrate him because of his physique. Ruiz is 6ft 2in and 18st but he moves well on his feet. Former promoter Bob Arum called him "a fat slob" when the fight with Joshua was announced. “I’m used to it," laughed Ruiz. "All my life everybody has been underestimating me until they see me fight, until they see me knock someone out. Then it’s: ‘Look at this chubby kid go.’
"All the people are underestimating me, but it’ll be a hell of a fight. They’re going to see what I’ve got. I’m here to shock everybody, shock the world and show them what I’m all about.”
"I’m ready for Anthony Joshua. Hopefully he’s overlooking me, thinking I’ll be a piece of cake. It’s a whole different ballgame when they’re in the ring with me. Once they see the speed and accuracy I have, I know I will shock him a lot.”
Ruiz is bolstered by what he calls his "destiny" to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz, ranked No14, got the call with less than six weeks notice after Joshua's original opponent, Jarrell Miller, failed three random, out-of-competition drug tests.
“I think it’s going to be an all-out war," Ruiz told The Sunday Telegraph. "I see them raising my hand and telling me, ‘And the new!’ I've dreamed this before. That’s why I was harassing Eddie Hearn to get the fight. I knew I could do better than the other guys he was taking to. I knew I could do better than any of them. I’d sparred a lot of them and whupped their a----. It’s going to be an amazing fight.”
“In the dream that I had all I heard was: ‘And the new heavyweight champion of the world!’ This is a real life dream. I was sleeping and woke up in training camp. I told my little brother. Dreams are dreams and reality is reality. We have to make the dreams happen. June 1, I’m going to do all I can to follow those dreams and make them reality.”
Should the huge underdog emerge victorious, he will pursue fights with Tyson Fury, the former heavyweight No1, and fellow American Deontay Wilder, the current WBC champion. “Fury really does entertain me. I’m a big fan of his even if he’s said bad things about me. I really don’t care. I think he’s got a big personality and heart. What I love about him is he believes in God just like me. He lost 140lbs. That’s something I’m trying to do. He overcame a big downfall so I give him credit for doing that and fighting the best. The Wilder fight was brilliant. I saw him winning the fight but I think the last knockdown made a difference. I think the draw was a good call.”
As for Wilder, he added: “I’d love to fight Wilder. They say everyone is scared of him, I’m not scared of nobody. He’s signed to the same people I am, so of course down the line we’ll make that fight happen. You’ll see Wilder and Andy Ruiz one of these days.”
But right now, Joshua's chin is his target. “It’s going to be a hell of a fight. Two big heavyweights punching each other in the face, trying to tear each other apart. It’s going to be an exciting fight.”