Andy Ruiz Jr's trainer Manny Robles has revealed his "utmost respect" for Anthony Joshua but insists there was nothing "lucky" about his charges win last time around and that the result will be the same when the two heavyweights meet in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
Speaking to The Sportsman, he said: “Fights are won in the gym and we’ve had a great camp. Some people dare to say they we got lucky but there’s no such thing as luck, luck is where opportunity and preparation meet and we’ve done just that. Now this time, with Andy being heavyweight champion of the world, we’ve had twelve weeks to prepare and I like where we’re at.
“We like that underdog mentality because we’ve always had our backs against the wall, understanding where we’ve come from, knowing that everything we’ve had to endure to get to the position we are in, it takes a lot of courage and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”
The fighters meet on Saturday night in Diriyah and, despite losing to the Mexican at Madison Square Garden last summer, Joshua is the favourite again as he looks for revenge.
That’s no problem for Robles. A big admirer of AJ, he knows the Brit won’t be fearing the duel but is confident Ruiz can get the better of him.
“I know that he’s not scared, I know that he doesn’t have any fear.
“A man that steps into the ring should not have any fear, that’s why I have so much respect for the game and boxers because it takes a lot to step into that ring.
“If it was easy everybody would do it. I don’t see anybody standing in line to get into that ring. You put your life on the line. I’ve nothing but the utmost respect for Joshua.
“I like the fact we’re still the underdogs and there are a lot of people out there that don’t believe in us, but we do, and that’s the only thing that matters,” he added. “I believe in Andy, the team believes in Andy.
“We’re ready to win. We put the hard work in. I understand Joshua is ready to regain his belt so it’s going to be a great fight. It’s going to be a fantastic night of boxing and we’re going to make history.
“I really believe that Andy is going to come out on top whether by decision or by knockout.”
Robles has been putting Ruiz Jr through his paces and insists the pair’s relationship, having built up their boxing empire through grit, determination and friendship, is key to more success.
“It’s not just being a coach but also being a friend and being able to talk to him,” he said.
“We go back to where we had nothing, back to when he was struggling to make ends meet and get by and we’re together. Being in this situation today says a lot about who he is as a person and his character. It’s a blessing."