Anthony Joshua believes that he’s going to beat Andy Ruiz Jr. to take back his IBF, WBA & WBO heavyweight titles, and then he’ll be seen as the #1 fighter in the division. That’s Joshua’s vision for his December 7th rematch against Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) in Saudi Arabia.
It sounds like an impossible dream, because Ruiz was supposed to be an easy fight for Joshua the first time around. His promoter Eddie Hearn selected Ruiz from the bottom of the IBF’s rankings to take the place of Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, who had tested positive for banned substances. A win for Joshua in the rematch will still put him behind Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, both of which are still unbeaten.
Joshua might seen as #1 in the eyes of some boxing fans, but now globally. For him to take over the #1 spot in real terms, he’ll need to beat Wilder and Fury. Some would include Dillian Whyte in that mix, but he’s currently on the sidelines after the controversy surrounding his test results from his recent fight against Oscar Rivas.
Joshua vows to win back his titles
“Ruiz is calm but he can fight. He’s not a fake character where he’s putting on a persona,” said Joshua to Sky Sports News. “A serious business. It becomes fun when you’re winning, now I’ve taken a loss. It’s a blip, we go again. I’ll get the titles back and I’ll be respected as the top man in the division,” said Joshua.
If Joshua doesn’t win back his titles, he’s going to need to come up with a different excuse for why he lost. He can’t continue to blame his defeats on one solitary incident in his fights. Joshua didn’t lose to Ruiz last June simply because he got nailed with a counter left hook. He lost because he had horrible stamina, no jab or head movement, and he couldn’t fight going backwards. Ruiz’s hand speed also played a major factor in the win, because Joshua’s defense was too porous to block all the incoming shots. What’s disappointing with Joshua is his failure to take ownership of his loss to Ruiz last June by blaming his defeat on a mistake he made in round 3. Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn both believe that the left hook that Ruiz hit him with in round 3 was cause for him to lose the fight.
“The material stuff doesn’t mean anything, just things that I wanted when I was growing up,” said Ruiz. “I think you just stay focused, stay grounded. I’m always around my kids and my wife. They say I’m the ‘Mexican Rocky’, the people’s champ. If I was Anthony Joshua, I would want the rematch, I would want to fight for the titles straight away. Of course I’m still hungry, I know he’s going to come strong. I want to have my own legacy and Anthony Joshua is in front of me,” said Ruiz.
In a big way, Ruiz’s win over Joshua was Rocky-esque, because he was picked out as a replacement like Rocky Balboa from the movie, ‘Rocky,’ and he wasn’t supposed to win. It was a once in a lifetime shot for Ruiz, and he took full advantage of it by knocking out the huge favorite Joshua.
Joshua: I can rectify things in rematch
“It was a mistake on my behalf, and Andy got the win. Good luck to him,” said Joshua to Behind The Gloves. “Now I’m trying to correct it. The realization is, I don’t see it as a problem. I see it as a solution, and I’ve got the rematch. I’m still positive, because I’ve got a chance to rectify my wrongs. Respect to him. He done well. I can’t take that away from him. He’s the first Mexican champ. I congratulations. That’s unbelievable. But now we’re talking about fighting man to man. We’re going again. My fire is still there.
I’ve been a weak-minded Chihuahua, and not I’m a Rottweiler, as you say. My bark as always been big. The cut back has always been there. I have to jump on my social a little bit more…I watched his documentary,” said Joshua about Tyson Fury. “He’s an interesting character. Tyson will call me randomly on the phone, and he’ll be like. Then I’ll say I’m going to knock you out. And he’ll say, ‘shut up, I’m going to knock you out.’ That’s just me and Tyson. The respects there, but we’re fighting men. Not friends. It’s a mutual respect. I’d love to fight him some day.