RIYADH: Mexican-American boxing superstar Andy Ruiz Jr.’s quest to defend his heavyweight boxing title in what is dubbed ‘Clash on the Dunes’, presented by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), took an inspiring turn when Ruiz Jr. delivered a double visit to the Disabled Children’s Association and Charity Committee for Orphans Care in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to give time and support to disadvantaged children.
The boxing heavyweight champion first visited the Disabled Children’s Association, one of the largest disabled children’s rehabilitation institutions in the Arab region, where he took time to engage with disabled children by giving away backpacks containing goodies, autographed merchandise, offered words of encouragement and took pictures with the children.
“It feels good giving back to the community,” said Ruiz Jr. “I wanted to show them love and support and to let them know Andy Ruiz is here to support them with anything they need.”
But he was not finished there. After visiting the Disabled Children’s Association in the morning, Ruiz paid a visit to the Charity Committee for Orphans Care later that same afternoon, speaking to children there and offering words of encouragement and inspiration to children growing up without families.
Of his time in Saudi Arabia, Ruiz reflected on discovering different cultures and his experience with the Saudi culture, praising the people especially for their kindness. “I love it, the people have a lot of love and respect. I felt that especially with the kids,” Ruiz Jr. added.
Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua took a few hours away from the gym to visit Misk Schools and prepare for the fight in what he called “a creative way.”
The Olympic gold medalist visited Misk Schools, a newly established school that aims to use real-world experiential learning to help students learn through an extensive range of project- and field-based experiences, enabling them to understand the relevance of their learning to the world beyond the classroom.
AJ’s visit turned out to be a mutually beneficial cultural exchange experience. He talked to the children about the benefits of sports and why they should always maintain a healthy lifestyle. The youngsters also had a chance to spend the afternoon with the boxer asking him all about his fights and how he trains and got their own private glove signing session.
In turn, The Watford born heavyweight saw the school visit as a chance to connect with the community and further understand the culture of the home of his upcoming fight. To him, mentally preparing for the fight is just as important as the physical preparation, and this was one of his ways of doing so.
Commenting on the visit Joshua said, “This is different now. This is a different arena, a different country, and a different experience. The ritual I followed in England can’t work here. That’s why I’m coming to this school, to connect with the people.”
The heavyweight has changed up much of his training process. He is working intensely and with a new sparring partner that closely fits the fighting style of Andy Ruiz. He is looking at the preparation for this fight in a new and different way.
“It will help me find a process that will work for me to be victorious. I’m looking forward to being creative and successful,” said AJ.