Ruiz Jr. visits disabled Saudi children, while Joshua drops in on Misk students

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Andy Ruiz Jr visited the Disabled Children’s Association and Charity Committee for Orphans Care in Riyadh. (Supplied)
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Anthony Joshua took a few hours away from the gym to visit Riyadh’s Misk Schools and prepare for the fight in what he called ‘a creative way.’ (Supplied)
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Andy Ruiz Jr visited the Disabled Children’s Association and Charity Committee for Orphans Care in Riyadh. (Supplied)
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Anthony Joshua took a few hours away from the gym to visit Riyadh’s Misk Schools and prepare for the fight in what he called ‘a creative way.’ (Supplied)
Updated 02 December 2019

Ruiz Jr. visits disabled Saudi children, while Joshua drops in on Misk students

  • Ruiz Jr. took time off from training for the biggest fight of his career to support disadvantaged children in the Saudi capital
  • AJ engages in mutually beneficial cultural exchange with visit to students at Misk Schools

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.

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Federer sets up Djokovic showdown

Updated 53 min 31 sec ago

Federer sets up Djokovic showdown

  • Federer, 38, now goes into an unmissable semifinal with Djokovic

MELBOURNE: Swiss great Roger Federer said “I believe in miracles” after he saved seven match points in a five-set nail-biter against 100th-ranked Tennys Sandgren to go into an Australian Open semifinal with Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.

The six-time champion, struggling physically, saved three match points at 4-5 in the fourth set and four more in the tie breaker to scrape through 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-3.

Federer, 38, now goes into an unmissable semifinal with Djokovic, who blunted Milos Raonic’s razor serve to win 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) and move two wins from an eighth Melbourne title.

Djokovic, despite trouble with his contact lenses, ended Raonic’s run of 63 straight games in the tournament without a break of serve and moves smoothly into the semis for the loss of just one set so far.

He paid tribute to the great escape by Federer, ahead of a semifinal that reprises his epic win over the Swiss in last year’s Wimbledon decider.

“What he did today was really amazing, to come back and save seven match points at his age,” Djokovic said.

“He’s still playing such a great tennis and proving that he deserves to be up there. He’s a great fighter. Obviously I have lots of respect for him.” Federer’s match was incident-packed and he received a rare warning for an audible obscenity before going off-court for treatment on a groin injury.

Still hampered by the injury, he somehow forced a fifth set and began to regain control against the big-serving American.

“I believe in miracles,” Federer said, revealing that he thought his groin strain had ended his chances. “There could be rain, there could be all kinds of stuff.

“(I thought) just let him finish me off in style, and he didn’t do that. I’m incredibly lucky tonight, today — I don’t even know what time it is.”

Sandgren, achingly close to becoming the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at the Australian Open, can count himself unlucky especially after a ball girl accidentally collided with him during the pivotal tie-breaker, which he lost.

Federer has made heavy weather of reaching his 46th Major semifinal. He was two points from defeat by John Millman in a fifth-set tie-breaker in round three, and dropped a set against 67th-ranked Marton Fucsovics in round four.

In the women’s draw Australia’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty dismissed two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in impressive style to reach the semis for the first time.

The unflappable Barty beat the Czech 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 and will be favorite in her semifinal against America’s Sofia Kenin — sending hopes soaring of a first home winner in 42 years.