- Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz faced off one last time before Saturday’s fight
- Joshua weighed in at the lightest of his career while Ruiz is heaver than first fight
- Joshua is looking to avenge his shock defeat by Ruiz in New York in July
- RUIZ-JOSHUA 2 GUIDE: What time is the rematch and how can I watch?
- LIVE: Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz heavyweight rematch in Saudi Arabia
Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz meet for a rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night
Joshua did his signature ‘zoning’ look, wearing headphones and an impassive expression
Ruiz appeared on stage in Saudi Arabia wearing a sombrero hat for the weigh-in
Ruiz gave more signs of nerves at the weigh-in but Joshua displayed some signs of tension
Ruiz leans in to shake Joshua’s hand as they face off for the last time before they fight
Ruiz was smiling throughout the weigh-in and managed to make it look a friendly occasion
Anthony Joshua’s bid to reclaim his titles and reinforce his reputation in boxing’s heavyweight division takes him to Saudi Arabia where, on Saturday night, he faces Andy Ruiz in a rematch.
Ruiz stunned the world at New York’s Madison Square Garden in July and Joshua has taken up the option of a rematch.
At Friday’s weigh-in, Ruiz came in a stone heavier than that night in July while Joshua tipped the scales at 16st, 13lbs – his lightest ever weight for a world-title fight.
But what else could be told about the mindset of the two fighters before Saturday’s clash? Body language expert JUDI JAMES cast her eye over proceedings and gave her analysis to Sportsmail
JOSHUA LOOKED TENSE… BUT RUIZ WAS NERVOUS
Joshua’s body language might have had a very outward air of tension, making him look understandably rattled after his last fight with Ruiz, but in terms of subtler and maybe more potent signs of nervousness I’d award this one to Ruiz, whose subliminal signals hinted he might actually be feeling the pressure more than Joshua, despite having less to prove in their re-match.
Joshua did his signature ‘zoning’ look, wearing headphones and an impassive expression as he posed up on the stage. He faced front and it was probably his blankly-staring eyes and closed lips that made him look like a man in need of some motivating and reassurance.
Ruiz might have looked more like the guy who had popped in on his way to a party in his Mexican hat, black vest and baggy tracksuit bottoms, and his half-smile suggested he was enjoying himself and looking forward to the fight, but there were at least three crucial non-verbal signals that suggested he was sitting on a generous portion of nerves.
Firstly, while Joshua stood in his leg-splayed pose, Ruiz’s left hand performed three anxiety rituals, picking at and pulling his vest down in what looked like a self-comfort ritual.
Second, when Ruiz turned for their face-to-face pose he breathed in, stuck his chest out and retained his half-smile, but when they met eye contact it was Ruiz who lost the ‘who-blinks-first’ competition instigated by Joshua. While Joshua maintained a level, blink-free stare Ruiz let off several fast blinks.
The third symptom was Ruiz’s breathing. You could actually see him taking breaths in a way that suggested tension, as opposed to Joshua’s calmer, less obvious breathing.
It was also interesting to see how it was Ruiz mirroring Joshua in their poses, hinting he might still see Joshua as the more dominant boxer.
When Joshua placed a hand to his heart Ruiz took his lead and moved his own hand up into position, only with a thumbs-up.
If the thumb had been more rigid this could have formed a ‘cocked thumb’ gesture that will often signal a sportsperson raring to go but in this case it just looked like an ‘OK’ signal for the cameras.
It was Ruiz who managed to make this weigh-in look quite friendly though, keeping his part-smile in place and offering a very matey hand-clasp at the end of the classic stare-down.