An Edgier Joshua To Walk Into Saudi Arabia

It seems Anthony Joshua’s image and demeanor has undergone a change since his June 1st knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, who until the June 1st date inside Madison Square Garden was the undefeated unified world heavyweight champion, now only has his rematch and an ever-growing chip on his shoulder.

“He’s looking into the eyes of a man who has beaten him, and it will be interesting how he reacts,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports about the trio of press conferences laid out over the course of this week.

“I don’t think AJ likes him, he doesn’t like the comments that have been made. It’s going to be lively.”

“There will be respect because they had a great fight, but there will be an edge,” Hearn continued.

“AJ has got that spite back. I’ve seen it in the build-up. I like seeing that – it has to be controlled aggression and controlled spite. You’re going in to knock somebody out and that’s what AJ wants to do.”

The seeds of discontent from Joshua were seen in a Sky Sports interview special AJ: The Untold Truth, where he lamented about Ruiz being the man he had to fight instead of Jarrell Miller. “I’ve taken on the world from my 16th fight, I’ve consistently done that. Then I’m fighting Ruiz Jr,” said the now former champion.

“He didn’t have any emotion, and he made that clear. He wasn’t up for fighting Ruiz Jr,” Hearn said of his fighter, who was adrift and passive leading up to the June 1st fight.

“It was nothing against Ruiz Jr, he just didn’t have any emotion. And now he does.”

Another issue Hearn mentioned was Joshua’s dislike of Lennox Lewis, the last man to be recognized as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Hearn said: “It’s been bubbling for a while. It’s not that he doesn’t respect Lennox as a fighter. He does – but he doesn’t respect him in other ways. People didn’t pick that up.

“‘How can you say that about Lennox?’ Of course you can, it doesn’t matter what he’s achieved. AJ thinks he’s a clown. AJ can’t win, sometimes he gets stick for being quiet and now he’s speaking his mind.”

Report: Sky Sports

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