Anthony Joshua said Wednesday he will not celebrate if he regains his world heavyweight title, as he faced off with rival Andy Ruiz in a final press conference before their controversial rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua seeks to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles that he lost to Ruiz in a shock June defeat in New York in a high-profile duel on Saturday, dubbed “Clash on the Dunes”.
The British boxer said he was “hungry, determined and focused” as he appeared alongside Ruiz in a press conference in Diriyah, close to the Saudi capital Riyadh.
“When I regain those belts… I am going to keep calm, stay focused. It’s not a time to celebrate. It’s a time to keep that challenger mindset and move on to the next target.”
But Ruiz insisted he would stay unbeaten.
“I made my dreams come true (in New York),” he said.
“There’s no way that I’m going to let these belts go.”
The rematch will take place in Diriyah, home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and a dramatic contrast to the iconic Madison Square Garden which hosted the first fight between the two men which ended in a seventh-round stoppage.
Saturday’s bout is mired in controversy.
The Saudis have faced intense diplomatic fallout over last year’s murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the conservative kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Activists accuse Saudi rulers of using sport as a tool to try and soften their international image.
In February, they hosted a first European Tour golf event while the world’s most gruelling motor sports race, the Dakar Rally, will be held in the country in 2020