ANTHONY JOSHUA looked a shadow of his former hulking self after shredding plenty of poundage for the must-win rematch with Andy Ruiz on Saturday.
The 30-year-old former heavyweight world champion weighed a hefty 17st 9lbs for the original New York showdown with the 19st Mexican slugger.
And his career high was in October 2017 when he bulked up to 18st 2lbs to labour to a late stoppage win over Carlos Takam.
But, at the Tuesday night media workout in Saudi Arabia, the Watford star looked a much leaner fighting machine and time will now tell if the drastic diet has made him mean enough to exact revenge.
The transformation was predicted by promoter Eddie Hearn, the Matchroom chief said: “I don’t like talking about weight, because last time I said he would be at his lightest ever and he came in at his heaviest ever. But you will see something.
“He looks great, he feels great and he is lean. I don’t know about the weight but it is going to be light.
“It’s not intentional like he has been dieting to lose weight, he has cut out a lot of strength and conditioning work and this camp has been boxing related.
“Rounds and rounds of sparring, rounds and rounds of technique. He was training too hard, he is training smarter now.”
AJ was accused of being too concerned with a body-builder appearance, instead of his fight skills, after the shock Madison Square Garden defeat.
But Hearn insists he has stripped back his iron pumping and focused on being tough instead of buff.
Hearn even admitted Joshua could learn a thing or two from the chubby champ.
He said: “Look at Ruiz. All he does is spar, but he is boxing fit. He could go 12 rounds whether he has put on a stone, lost a stone.
“AJ has had to learn things, like pacing a fight, that come naturally to Ruiz but he is in a great place.”
And Britain’s Olympic 2012 hero agreed that brain training could be the key to him resurrecting his career with a statement win.
Ruiz vs Joshua 2 UK ring walk time CONFIRMED: When is it and how to watch it?
AJ’s coach feels like under-fire Solskjaer by trying to resurrect fallen star
THREESY DOES IT
Joshua wants TRILOGY with Ruiz and insists there will be a KO in rematch
FIRM BUT FAIR
Joshua vs Ruiz rematch referee and judges confirmed with Luis Pabon the ref
‘GOOD TO GO’
Hearn laughs offs reports AJ was injured in sparring ahead of Ruiz rematch
AJ & Ruiz Jr purses revealed with Brit on record £66m.. and champ taking just £10m
Joshua ‘dropping sparring partners and sending them home early’
He said: “I have been gym ready. I just feel good. I have to admit, I haven’t been focused on my weight. I have been focused on my boxing work.”
“Your mind is the biggest muscle in the body. I just use that to my advantage.
“Positive self-talk is important. You have to really believe it in your heart, not just your mind.”