Anthony Joshua insists he isn’t underestimating Andy Ruiz Jr ahead of their Madison Square Garden showdown on June 1.
Ruiz has been criticised as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, who failed three drugs tests ahead of his shot at the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion.
But Joshua insists the California-based heavyweight is better than he looks on the surface and will bring all the characteristics needed to make a tough fight.
Joshua is putting the final touches to his preparations at a training camp in Miami and is prepared for a tough battle on his US debut despite being firm favourite.
He said: “It’s not about what you look like, it’s a craft, a skill, and what’s in your heart and your head matters in the end.
“Andy has shown he has all that, he can fight and box, that’s what matters. I think Andy is a great challenger and will bring it on June 1.
“All I’ve heard is ‘AJ will smash him in a round’. From the outside they think that anyone can box, so how is the guy that doesn’t look like a fighter able to box?
“I always say that if you put ten bodybuilders in the ring, not one of them could fight for a regional title in boxing.
“Take me out of my body but keep the same attributes and height, same jab, same chin, same heart and same mind, but I looked different – I’d still get to the same position I am in.
“That’s because it’s what is within you that makes a champion, your genetics, and his genetics are the same – and he took the fight!
“He’s keen, he’s game and you cannot knock him. He can fight and he’s got hands. He gave a world champion in Joseph Parker lots of problems.
“I have not underestimated him one bit.”
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