1142 GMT January 26, 2020
Joshua said he spent his 30th birthday in digs in Sheffield, has cut out salt and invested significantly on top‑quality sparring partners in a bid to win back his title, the Guardian reported.
The former WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion said he has the same “lockdown” attitude he had as a youngster after nearly going to jail – when he prayed for a second chance at life – into his preparations.
“When I went into boxing, I was getting into a lot of trouble,” Joshua said.
“I had a major court case and I prayed: ‘God, if you give me a second chance at life I will make all the changes in the world.’ When I beat that court case, I got into boxing and I focused.
“Same thing with Ruiz, give me a second chance at life and see what I can do. I just dedicated myself. I said I would put myself on a 15-year prison sentence to boxing and have that focus.”
That was in 2008 but when it was put to Joshua that he might retire in 2023 he replied, “I could go on longer. It’s just a mindset, a prison mindset, like a military mindset, lockdown. Training, focus, sleep. You have to have that mindset. You have to be in that regimen.”
That includes celebrating his birthday at his digs in Sheffield where he talked to his nutritionist Mark Ellison about training.
“I live boxing, I live it, that’s all I do,” Joshua said.
“I have a lot more energy now I am no longer focused on any other opponent than Ruiz.”
Joshua has also corrected the failings of his first camp against Ruiz, when he lacked sparring partners who could replicate the Mexican-American’s style and paid the price when he was stopped in the seventh round.
“Sparring is important because it is the closest thing you can get to the fight,” Joshua said.
“We don’t always want to do it because it is a big cost but it’s the best way to prepare. They throw everything at me, if I do 12 rounds then it’s with five different people back-to-back and I am dealing with every shot coming at me.
“Ruiz doesn’t get enough credit for his jab. We need to be prepared for that, which is why we got so many sparring partners in.”