Anthony Joshua warned "I have a second chance" as he went face to face with Andy Ruiz Jr at a press conference in New York.
The heavyweight rivals met again in the city where Ruiz Jr shocked Joshua earlier this year, ahead of their rematch on December 7 in Saudi Arabia, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
IBF, WBA and WBO title-holder Ruiz Jr, wearing a sombrero, only broke from an intense face-off when he heard calls of let’s go champ from the onlooking Shannon Briggs, the former heavyweight champion from New York.
Joshua earlier said: In my short 11-year career, from the amateurs to the pros, I’ve seen a lot. I wouldn’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve definitely seen a lot.
There were times when I faced defeat as an amateur. My third fight. Imagine I stopped then, there would be no now. I lost in the European Championship quarter-finals. Imagine I stopped then, there would be no now.
I lost in the World Championship finals. Imagine I stopped then, there would be no now. Stopping isn’t in my DNA. As long as I have breath, I will keep fighting for the passion of boxing and more so as an ambassador for championship-level fighting. That’s where I belong.
I was born with a fighting spirit. I know how to fight.
People say, ‘you lost your titles’. I say, ‘to lose something is to never get it back’.
I have a second chance on December 7. I didn’t have a warm-up fight, I’m not gun-shy.
Shannon Briggs talks about the times he was down and out, and nobody believed in him.
That’s where ‘let’s go champ’ comes into my life right now.
Joshua then called on Briggs to shout his catchphrase and he responded with a loud: Let’s go champ!
Ruiz Jr said about New York: This is where I became the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world.
But I know Joshua wants his belts back. I know how it feels to lose – I lost to Joseph Parker when I thought I had won. Joshua can bounce back. My job is not to let him get the belts back.
I’ve had doubters my whole life, telling me I’d do nothing because of my appearance. Just because of how I looked.
People can now say, ‘if he did it, I can do it’.
Promoter Eddie Hearn added: This is a beautiful, brutal sport and every fighter deserves respect but these two are great role models and great ambassadors. This may be the heavyweight occasion of our generation.
Joshua and Ruiz Jr met in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday on the first leg of a three-day media tour. They reconvene on Friday in London.