One Year Later: Anthony Joshua Reflects On Shocking Andy Ruiz Jr. Upset And The Comeback That Followed
Monday, June 1, was the one-year anniversary of one of the most shocking moments in boxing history. Anthony Joshua, who lost the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Titles to Andy Ruiz Jr. Inside Madison Square Garden in 2019, was at a loss for words during that moment, just like those who watched the fight.
Following the bout, Joshua spoke to the media for about an hour, reflecting on his loss. His head not in the game, he realized he made a few mistakes against a man in Ruiz that almost everyone doubted. With a calm demeanor, but with a familiar smile, Joshua knew he would be back on top of the heavyweight division.
Joshua spoke with Sky Sports on the anniversary of the loss and described how he felt. With the comfort of his friends, “AJ” didn’t need his celebrity status, as normalcy was his comfort.
“After I lost you have time to think,” Joshua said. “But none of the boys went out. But when you’ve been winning for so many years it can come across that [these people] were just here for the good times. But they stuck with me and didn’t leave my side, and I only realized that when I had time to myself. These people are real.
“No one changed. People love you when you’re winning. But you realize that they love you for who you are, and what you represent.”
Originally set to face Jarrell Miller before he failed three drug tests, Joshua came into the fight facing then-268-pound Ruiz, who had an impressive resume but not many knew what to make of him. In a wild third round, Joshua was dropped multiple times after Ruiz was for a brief moment. Ruiz would end up dominating the rest of the bout, with the referee calling the fight off in the seventh round.
Training harder compared to previous bouts, Joshua came into the rematch in Saudi Arabia at 237 pounds, the lightest he’s been in a long time. Meanwhile, Ruiz ballooned up to 284 pounds. Joshua ended up running circles around Ruiz, as the latter did not take the preparation for the fight seriously and instead partied. While the fight went the distance, Joshua won via unanimous decision.
Following the first fight, Joshua had a chance to be in the moment. With a lot on his mind, it just wasn’t his day. Freeing his mind, whether playing chess or coming up with a new game plan by himself, helped Joshua become who a majority of the boxing world knew him to be. A sense of humility provided some clarity that may help him in the future.
“Being a boxer has taught me how to deal with success and failure,” Joshua went on to say. “The championship mindset goes beyond the belts.”