sport news Anthony Joshua wants 'respect, not the belts' when he faces Andy Ruiz in Saudi ...

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The expletives are back and apparently with them the killer instinct which propelled Anthony Joshua from the mean streets of Watford to the enriching pinnacle of world championship boxing.

Andy Ruiz Jr, watch out in the desert on Saturday night.

AJ is coming for his belts. Those bands of honour stripped from his twelve-pack torso by Mexico's corpulent 25-1 long-shot in one of the most astonishing upsets in the annals of the prize-ring.

Anthony Joshua is ready to win back his four belts and people's respect as champion

Anthony Joshua is ready to win back his four belts and people's respect as champion

Since this summer's steamy New York night Joshua has felt the first hot breath of criticism to scorch his gilded career. His response has been a long, simmering six months coming but when it does it is incendiary.

Of the imminent rematch in Riyadh he has this to say: 'When I win, it will be f*** everybody.'

By way of graphic illustration, he jabs the extended middle finger of each towards the ceiling.

We are huddled inside a small, dark, windowless room in a corner of his Sheffield training camp shortly before his flight to Saudi Arabia.

Joshua has rarely spoken publicly in this manner since he turned his back on gang-life and his face towards winning gold at the London Olympics, then on to a cluster of world heavyweight titles.

But no man can disentangle himself entirely from his roots. So when taken to task for selecting the unexpectedly dangerous Ruiz as the opponent for his first fight in America, he recalls how the more familiar names were otherwise engaged at the time and says of those peddling the wisdom of hindsight. 

Andy Ruiz (R) shocked the world when he beat Joshua inside Madison Square Garden in June

Andy Ruiz (R) shocked the world when he beat Joshua inside Madison Square Garden in June

'Stupid guys. F***, I want to fight the best in the world. After I won Olympic gold and was turning pro, my uncle gave me a list of names to look out for. Ruiz was on that list. We always knew he was a good fighter.'

And when asked what he misses about being heavyweight champion he says: 'It's not the belts. It's the respect. You take one loss and you start hearing what people really thought about you. 

'We don't play games in boxing. What the hell do people think this is? This is fighting. It's f****** serious. Give some respect to what we do. Put some regard to our name.'

Then comes a glimpse of the deadly mentality renewed: 'It's not about pats on the back. This is hustle. This is grind. It's like killing, ain't it? Bang, next one. Bang, next one. Bang, next one.

'I've had time to reflect. It took me three weeks to come to terms with the loss. Hell, I take this s*** seriously. I'm not going to become a pussy overnight.

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