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Deontay Wilder on Anthony Joshua's mind ahead of American debut

:Headline: Deontay Wilder on Anthony Joshua's mind ahead of American debut:
Joshua fights Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday.
PA | 5mo

Deontay Wilder dominated Anthony Joshua's thoughts just three days before his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight title defence against Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday in New York.

The WBC champion announced this week – midway through the build-up to Joshua-Ruiz Jr and aware that Joshua had hoped to fight him next – that he is to have a rematch with Luis Ortiz.

Those plans further delay what would perhaps be the biggest fight that could be made anywhere on the planet, and for all four world heavyweight titles, potentially also undermining interest in Joshua's US debut at Madison Square Garden.

Anthony Joshua is ready for his American debut (Nick Potts/PA)

The 29-year-old Joshua remains a heavy favourite against Ruiz Jr, from Mexico, and he unusually revealed that he is already focusing on the wider picture that could follow Saturday night when he said: "I was looking to win so we could have our sit-down (to negotiate with Wilder).

"If it was me, and I rematched (Alexander) Povetkin next, I'd have had more pressure (from the public). He makes a decision that I am not able to make, but I try not to. How would people have dealt with me?

"Ortiz will be quicker to fight me (if he wins) than Wilder, so it's not a bad thing. It's coming close to a time when that WBC belt should change hands.

"Wilder is a good name in general. If he loses he doesn't go down the start line again. But the undisputed (fight) is not about Joshua v Wilder, it's about the undisputed.

Joshua wants to own all four belts (Nick Potts/PA)

"This build up hasn't been flat; it's been interesting. The speculation of what's next, (Tyson) Fury, Wilder, me in the middle.

"I don't mind where I fight. The UK is my home base and raised me. So there is loyalty there. But more recently I've been told as world champion you fight around the world."

Ruiz Jr, also 29, was bullied as he struggled with obesity as both a child and teenager, and he revealed that he has used those memories to drive him towards his second fight for the world heavyweight title.

"I was always a big kid," he said. "My first amateur fight I was seven and there were no kids at my weight so I fought older guys.

Andy Ruiz Jr is a huge underdog (Nick Potts/PA)

"It took a little bit to get used to but it kind of gave me extra motivation. It would get me down but I would kind of block out the negative.

"I have been an underdog my whole life. The shape I have, the way I look. People will tell you though that I am hard to get to."

Joshua plans to watch footage of heavyweight greats fighting at Madison Square Garden before the bout.

He makes debut at boxing's most revered venue on Saturday evening, and is relishing the fact Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Joe Frazier have fought there before him.

Naseem Hamed intentionally prolonged his ringwalk to saviour walking in the footsteps of some of those greats before defeating Kevin Kelley on what was also his US debut in 1997.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool12111028101834
2Leicester CityLeicester128222982126
3Chelsea1282227171026
4Manchester CityMan City1281335132225
5Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd12453139417
6Arsenal124531617-117
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd124441612416
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves123721615116
9Bournemouth124441515016
10Burnley124351718-115
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124351517-215
12Crystal Palace124351016-615
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle124351118-715
14Tottenham HotspurSpurs123541817114
15Everton124261318-514
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham123451420-613
17Aston Villa123271720-311
18Watford12156823-158
19Southampton122281129-188
20Norwich CityNorwich122191128-177
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