Ruiz heavyweight weigh-in, Anthony Joshua at lightest in five years.

Anthony Joshua has dropped to lighter than 17 stone for the first time since 2014 for his redemption fight against Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday.

Joshua is 10lbs lighter than he was for June’s fight between the pair in New York, when Ruiz Jr caused a major upset with a seventh-round technical knockout.

Ruiz Jr tipped the scales at 20 stone 3lbs at the weigh-in in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, but Joshua does possess a four-inch height and eight-inch reach advantage over his opponent.

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Joshua has credited an adjusted training regime for his leaner frame which promises greater stamina and agility, although some fear a loss of power agains the hard-hitting Mexican American.

“It’s not intentional that he has been dieting to lose weight. He has cut out a lot of strength and conditioning work,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “When I saw him in New York, he looked drained, because he had worked his b——- off in camp. I hope he doesn’t feel like that now.”

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This fight is a pivotal juncture in Joshua’s career, who would face a long road back to the top if there is a repeat of his shock defeat at Madison Square Garden.

With Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury due to fight again in early 2020, Joshua needs a comeback victory to put himself in the frame for a tantalising unification fight.

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Saturday’s main event will play out amid widespread concerns about ‘sportswashing’ and Saudi Arabia using international events to normalise a regime with a record of Human rights abuses.

“As an individual I try to bring positivity and light everywhere I go. I’m just seeing it from my eyes alone but for sure the country in itself is trying to do a good job politically,” Joshua said.

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