Joshua Had Wilder on Mind When Facing Ruiz
Anthony Joshua says he took his eye off the ball a bit when he was in the ring with Andy Ruiz Jr. back on June 1, admitting he was already looking forward to facing Deontay Wilder.
On that night in New York’s Madison Square Garden, however, Ruiz would flip the heavyweight division on its head by dropping Joshua four times. The referee waved off the bout after the second knockdown of the seventh round, giving Joshua his first defeat and making Ruiz the new WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO unified heavyweight champion.
While he was knocked around by Ruiz in the heavyweight title fight, he still wasn’t happy with the referee waving off the fight, claiming he was waiting for an issue with his mouthpiece to be fixed.
“I didn’t really know where I was other than in the corner but I had my arms back over the ropes waiting for the gum shield to replaced,” Joshua told JD Sports. “The referee should not have expected me to fight on without it. I just saw the gumshield lying on the floor.”
Joshua did admit to not being focused — looking ahead towards a possible undisputed title fight with Wilder down the line. But with the heavyweight world titles no longer in his possession, Wilder booked with Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury and questions about his star power and ability, Joshua will come into their rematch with a rediscovered focus.
“My mind was not fully on Ruiz but partly on the fight for the undisputed title against Deontay Wilder which was due next. But now we have this massive rematch and I will train differently for Andy. This time I will be ready to unleash the beast,” Joshua said. “This defeat has told me I must make my own decisions about everything inside the ring and around me outside. I was down to 40 percent of myself after that early punch behind the ear and had never felt like that before in my life. I was deep into an uphill struggle but I would still rather have lost flat on my back than like that.”
The rematch between Joshua and Ruiz is scheduled to take place Dec. 7 in Saudi Arabia.
Original Story: Boxing Scene