Heavyweight king Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) of the United Kingdom and dangerous Mexican challenger Andy Ruiz, Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) faced the media for the final press conference at The Beacon Theatre.
Joshua will make his U.S. debut and will defend his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO World Heavyweight Championship titles against Ruiz on Saturday, June 1, at Madison Square Garden and exclusively on DAZN.
The pair shared friendly banter, and at one point, Joshua even allowed Ruiz to try his titles out for size.
The official weigh-in will be streamed live on the DAZN platform and social media channels, starting at 3:30 p.m. ET. For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.
Boxing on DAZN begins at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 1, with the main event starting at 10:00 p.m. ET.
“The sport is tough no doubt about it, but dedication, focus, and purpose gives me reason to return to the gym each time. I won this title in my 16th fight, I think when I was about three years into being a professional, and I wanted to take these challenges. Without overlooking Andy or his team at all, Andy knows what it’s like to be a fighter. When you have this opportunity in front of you and know what can come after, we naturally look past, so when I was fighting for that title, I was always looking for the next challenge, hoping to get to the next one.
“Fighting Andy for me is just as dangerous as fighting Wilder or Fury because they both possess their own skills, so I have to take Andy deadly serious. I don’t overlook him at all, I respect him and respect his team, and I really respect he put his name on the dotted line to take this challenge. No challenge is easy, no matter what the bookers are telling you or the odd makers. Andy is going to come in here and give me a real good fight and cause problems, and it’s down to me as a champion to think smart, box clever, out box, out strength, and out muscle Andy Ruiz to get that win.
“No fight like after the fight when your hands are raised, your opponent has been defeated and thinking about being on a beach, or being with your family, and focus on the next challenge ahead. Right now I’m only champion till June 1 when I have to defend my titles. I’m currently the heavyweight champion of the world, but June 1 I put them in the air and they’re up for grabs. Let the best man win.”
“I’ve been waiting for this all my life, I’ve been training so hard since my last fight against Alexander Dimitrenko. This came at a perfect time to fight Anthony Joshua. Those belts look really shiny, look really good! I’m ready, I’m ready for June 1, I’m ready to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. Ready to bring those belts back to Mexico, although they have never been to Mexico, but they will be on June 1. I have nothing bad to say about Anthony Joshua, he’s a champion, I’m a fan of him, I respect him, but inside the ring there won’t be any respect, no friends, and no fans. I’ll I can say is tune-in on June 1, it’s going to be a hell of fight, I’m going to give it all I got, and we’re going to win this for Mexico!”
“Thanks to the media in attendance today. Many of you have traveled thousands of miles to be here and I think that speaks to the significance of Saturday’s event. Thanks too to Joel Fischer and his team here at the Garden for their hospitality. Great partners as always. This is the first event in a 3-week DAZN residency at MSG – we’ll be giving Billy Joel a run for his money at this rate.
“AJ was there for DAZN at the beginning of our American journey and now we’re proud to be here for his – as the exclusive broadcaster of his fight against a highly motivated Andy Ruiz. Not just in the U.S. but in all 9 DAZN markets across four continents.
“Since AJ debuted on DAZN in September, a lot has changed within boxing. We now have six of the pound-for-pound top 10 boxers in the world on DAZN – many of whom are also the biggest draws in the sport like Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin and, of course, Anthony Joshua.
“We’ve also featured some of the sport’s top women – Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano and Claressa Shields – as well as its hottest young prospects like Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia.
“At a time when many are focused on how the boxing landscape is fractured, we’re working with a growing number of promoters to cut through the noise and deliver the best fights for fans. Matchroom, Golden Boy, GGG Promotions, the World Boxing Super Series are all on DAZN. It’s the best boxing schedule of any platform and without doubt the best value.
“But we’re not done. We’re hard at work, planning the rest of 2019 to make sure we continue to overdeliver for our subscribers.”
“I think sometimes as a team or promoter you have to pinch with yourself whenever you’re at Madison Square Garden, we have been lucky enough to stage two world championship events at the Theatre, but Matchroom Boxing will make our debut at Madison Square Garden as a promotional company and to do it for the unified heavyweight championship in an absolute honor, and to do it while representing the Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua is an honor as well.
“This week has been incredible, and part of the development of Anthony Joshua the fighter and the brand is to take him worldwide and keep growing the incredible profile around the world.
“We were here a few months ago, what feels like yesterday, when another heavyweight decided to shove Anthony Joshua on the stage in front of you. He talked the talked, but couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t bring himself to try genuinely and honestly fight the unified heavyweight champion of the world. Once the three positive drug test came in we searched for a new opponent, there wasn’t any instructions, it was whoever we wanted. Someone sent me a direct message, I’m fighting on Saturday, give me this fight, I’ll fight harder than any other person mentioned and I will give you a better fight and beat Anthony Joshua. We saw him beat Alexander Dimitrenko, discussions continued, and we knew the deal was important, and had a burning desire to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion. We respect Andy for stepping up and taking this fight and we know we’re in for a hell of a fight on Saturday night.”