sport news SPECIAL REPORT: Anthony Joshua is rebuilt and ready to rumble  

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Of all the tweaks, from the pads to the chats to the films, maybe it will soon be concluded that a trip to where he wasn't meant to go did the most in getting Anthony Joshua back to where he believes he belongs.

There's an instructive tale in that. It's told by Joshua's manager, Freddie Cunningham, and relates to July, when the fallen champion called up six or seven close friends and family and headed for a place that has always felt something like home.

There was no one from the AJ business, no obligations and no stress. It was simply a first trip in years to the country of his parents, Nigeria, and from there a series of unguarded visits to the slum areas of Lagos.

Anthony Joshua is rebuilt and ready to rumble out in the Saudi Arabian desert with Andy Ruiz

Anthony Joshua is rebuilt and ready to rumble out in the Saudi Arabian desert with Andy Ruiz

'It might actually have been his first time back there since he turned professional, I think,' Cunningham tells Sportsmail. 'He was there for eight to 10 days and there was no work at all. There is a lot of interest commercially in Anthony in Nigeria but we agreed he should just go and do his own thing.' 

He had touched down around six weeks after that remarkable night in New York, when Andy Ruiz and his hooks of revelation left Joshua in a fog and inverted just about everything we thought we knew.

'He travelled around all over,' Cunningham adds. 'He went to all the places they advise you not to go - he saw the people, he went to the slums and he saw a lot of kids out there who he's inspired and, honestly, I think that really showed him the impact he's having.

'He just totally reconnected with everything, his home and his roots. It really made an impression on him.' 

The 30-year-old is mobbed by adoring fans during his visit to Nigeria back in July

The 30-year-old is mobbed by adoring fans during his visit to Nigeria back in July

Joshua has made several tweaks to his training regime

Joshua tapes his hands up prior to a training session in May

The Brit has made several tweaks to his training regime in the build-up to his rematch with Ruiz 

If there was maybe a trace of ambivalence in his mind about the industry that had given him £60million and then taxed rather a lot of pride, it was long gone by the time he landed back in London.

'I think in terms of what he has experienced, with losing his fight, that trip was really important,' Cunningham says. 'I spoke to him when he came back and he was so energised.' 

How energised? Is it enough? Will it ever be like it was before the astonishing events at Madison Square Garden on June 1? 

On Saturday night, within a temporary structure in Saudi Arabia, will Joshua offer a reminder about that old saying on form and class? His inner circle are convinced on all those questions.

A big difference this time is in the numbers and the dimensions. Or so say the believers who have been behind closed doors on the first floor of the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, where Joshua was based from Monday until Friday for 10 of the 12 weeks of this restoration mission.

'A major change, if you ask me, has been the sparring,' Eddie Hearn told Sportsmail. 'Far more boxing and more partners.' 

There was Bryant Jennings, 6ft 3ins and a contender in 2015 for Wladimir Klitschko's titles. Then there was Tyrone Spong (6ft 2ins and a 14-0 record), Albon Pervizaj (6ft 3ins, 12-1), Hussein Muhamed (6ft 5ins, 14-0), Elvis Garcia (6ft 2ins, 8-0) and Andrew Tabiti (6ft 1ins, 17-1). 

All either experienced or strong prospects, several with good speed and a similar height to Ruiz. Dereck Chisora (6ft 1ins and 260 pounds) also dropped in for a time, and there was a squat heavyweight in Timothy Moten, as well as big Tom Little (268 pounds). 

Timothy Moten (left) pictured with Joshua (right) in training ahead of Andy Ruiz Jnr rematch

Timothy Moten (left) pictured with Joshua (right) in training ahead of Andy Ruiz Jnr rematch

Moten (L) pictured after a sparring session with Joshua - has done over 60 rounds with the Brit

Moten (L) pictured after a sparring session with Joshua - has done over 60 rounds with the Brit

All had something to replicate the unusual, enigmatic blitz of a Mexican-American who loosely drapes 268 pounds off a 6ft 2ins frame but has deceptively quick and accurate hands.

'I would probably say it is the only time I have seen one of his camps where the focus is all on the other guy,' Hearn adds. 'It has been about tailoring for Andy Ruiz and what he brings.' 

A critical point here is the comparison to the build-up to the first fight and by extension it comes down to who you choose to believe about how those preparations played out.

One of the issues before the first fight, told to Sportsmail by a source well connected to Joshua, is that their main body-match sparring partner in the final weeks, Joey Dawejko, did not fully engage in the sessions. He was good but occasionally wouldn't let his hands go.

Of course that is contradicted by folk on the outside who speculated Dawejko dropped Joshua in camp and gave him a concussion which carried through to fight night. That theory, while an easy dot-joiner for what followed, has never been forwarded with any great authority.

More plausible, based on views of those in the camp, is that the most

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