Prince Abdulaziz welcomes the world to Diriyah

'Hungry' Joshua says no celebration if he beats Ruiz in rematch

Mexican-American heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr (L) Eddie Hearn (C) and British heavyweight boxing challenger Anthony Joshua (R) are pictured during their press conference in Diriyah in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on Wednesday, ahead of the upcoming "Clash on the Dunes". — AFP

DIRIYAH, — Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), said, "We are only a few days from the start of the most important sporting event witnessed by the Kingdom in this period” while describing the Anthony Joshua- Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch here.

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".

Referring to the heavyweight boxing duel, Prince Abdulaziz said, “I welcome all our guests from all over the world, and we’re looking forward for an exceptional sports evening with the presence of world champions in boxing.

“I have noticed the international media too has shown great interest in this great event in Saudi Arabia, especially on Wednesday as they attended in droves, the press conference, from all over the world.”

Joshua said Wednesday that he will not celebrate if he regains his world heavyweight title, as he faced off with rival Andy Ruiz in a final press conference.

The British boxer, 30, said he was "hungry, determined and focused" as he appeared alongside Ruiz here. "I am not here to put on a show, I am here to win," he said.

"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. "There's no way that I'm going to let these belts go," he said.

"I am going to die trying and do anything that's possible. It's been a long journey and a long rollercoaster in my life, and now that my dream has come true I will never let this go.

Ruiz said all the pressure was on Joshua ahead of the rematch. "I know (Joshua) is going to come with a different game plan, I know he's prepared and I know he's motivated," he said.

"I know he's lost weight and will try to box me around, but it's just my job to prevent that. I'm ready for whatever comes my way."

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 that ended in a seventh-round stoppage.

Ruiz, however, said he was "happy to be here in Saudi Arabia".

"It feels really good. I feel at home you know. Everybody has been treating me with love and especially enjoying the really good food that they have in this country," he said. — SG/AFP