Former world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr speaks to bet365 as he eyes up AJ trilogy fight and looks ahead to Usyk vs Joshua II this weekend.
Andy Ruiz Jr is adamant that a trilogy fight with Anthony Joshua simply has to happen… regardless of the outcome of their forthcoming heavyweight showdowns.
The 32-year-old is currently in camp preparing for his WBC title eliminator against Luis Ortiz next month, whilst Joshua is in Saudi Arabia fine-tuning his own preparations ahead of Saturday evening’s mammoth world title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
Ruiz Jr sent shockwaves through the heavyweight division when he stopped the previously unbeaten Joshua at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden three years ago.
However, his unified reign was short-lived as the British star recaptured the WBA (Super), IBF and WBO straps in the Middle East just six months later – a defeat that Ruiz Jr remains determined to atone for, with or without belts on the line.
“Of course, I’d love the trilogy fight – it is something we should have done once he beat me,” he told bet365 in his showdown with the hard-hitting Ortiz, on September 4.
“There should have been a trilogy fight – I should have had one more opportunity to get back those belts, just like we gave him the opportunity with the rematch.
“There has to be a trilogy – even if he loses or wins and regardless of whether I win or lose, there has to be a trilogy some day and somehow, because it’s 1-1!”
The Mexican appears to be in pristine condition for his September date with ‘King Kong’ Ortiz as he looks to edge himself closer to another shot at world honours, having triumphed over Chris Arreola, albeit in underwhelming fashion, last May.
An improved follow-up victory in Los Angeles next month could catapult Ruiz Jr back into the title picture, and put him on course for a potential collision with the victor of this weekend’s hotly-anticipated bout.
“It's a fight that could go either way, you know!
“If Usyk doesn’t do the same things that I did, which I am sure he won’t do having been at the top of the game, and the undisputed cruiserweight, then he’s got a shot.
“But I know Anthony Joshua has a new trainer in Robert Garcia, who is over there trying to show him the Mexican style – being aggressive, throwing a lot of punches and trying to be first in coming at his opponent.
“But listen, Usyk is an awkward fighter, an awkward leftie fighter – but if Anthony has been sparing a lot, and getting used to what he is likely to face, then he will be able to adjust (to Oleksandr).”
The Ukrainian star will be desperate to succeed where Ruiz Jr failed in backing up his credentials with a second straight success over the two-time world champion.
Despite blitzing ‘AJ’ with a barrage of heavy punches en-route to his stunning seventh round stoppage in their first meeting, the American-based fighter was unable to replicate that success the second time around as Joshua eased to a KO victory of his own.
“Listen, fighting over there (in Saudi Arabia) was a lot different, but there were a lot of things that I didn’t do right in the build-up to it,” he confessed.
“From not training the way I was supposed to, from going here and there – it all just happened so fast for me – my dreams had a few months before all come true!
“To this day, I still regret certain things that I didn’t do right, and I have got to climb my way back up the ladder now.
“I know what to do and what not to do, but looking back at the overall experience of Saudi Arabia, it was amazing.
“People are really nice, there was a really good atmosphere and it will be a hell of a fight on Saturday!”