The Friday Five: June 7, 2019

1. Rolls: I Was Confident Before Ruiz’s Win

Credit: Twitter/@TomLoeffler1

Steve Rolls says he didn’t need to see Andy Ruiz Jr’s win over Anthony Joshua to be confident for his fight with Gennadiy Golovkin, but he admitted it did provide a boost to his confidence.

Rolls is scheduled to take on the former unified middleweight champion on June 8 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Just last week, that venue hosted arguably one of boxing’s greatest upsets, when Ruiz dropped the then-unbeaten Joshua four times en route to a seventh-round TKO and to claim the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO championships.

Rolls, at 19-0 and the heavy underdog in this bout, last competed in December, scoring a unanimous decision win over KeAndrae Leatherwood in his home country of Canada. Golovkin, meanwhile, has just two blemishes to his record, both against current WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight champ Canelo Alvarez. Their first meeting in September 2017 went to a highly-controversial split draw, with their rematch 364 days later going to Canelo via majority decision.

Rolls says while that draw and loss were controversial in nature, they play a role in his confidence, knowing that GGG is beatable.

“I’m definitely confident of pulling off an upset,” Rolls told Omnisport. “I had a great camp and these are the opportunities I’ve been waiting for. I’ve always believed I can do it, even before that [Joshua-Ruiz] fight. But when I’ve seen a fight like that, it’s definitely a little motivating.”

Original Story: Boxing Scene

2. Ferguson: Former Management Said No To McGregor

On his quest to become one of the best MMA fighters today, Tony Ferguson has been through a lot. While also dealing with personal issues, Ferguson (24-3) left Paradigm Sports for the Ballengee Group. It might have had something to do with Conor McGregor.

In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Ferguson went off on his former agency for rejecting a request to face Conor McGregor. The former interim UFC Lightweight Champion believes that the agency that represented him was protecting Conor.

“When i asked them, I said straight up, ‘I want Conor next,’ they basically told me no. They’re defending him the same way Dana is defending him,” Ferguson stated, per Lowkick MMA. “Any person that’s got their hands in Conor’s pockets, they are kissing their a**. I’m not going to say anything else about that, but literally man, the kid don’t run the show. He don’t run me man. You never heard this dude speak my name, you never heard this dude talk sh*t about me.”

3. Ruiz: I Would Have KO’ed Joshua Before Stoppage

Andy Ruiz Jr. feels that if the referee let Anthony Joshua continue, the new unified world heavyweight champion would have send the Brit back to the canvas in “dramatic fashion.”

Speaking with Sky Sports on Monday, Ruiz Jr is excited to do a rematch, but has a different location in-mind than the United Kingdom.

“I’d love to be in Mexico, there’s never been a heavyweight champion in Mexico so I’d love to have a rematch there,” Ruiz Jr said.

“I’m still pinching myself that this is true, all that hard work and dedication, I’ve made my dreams come true.

“He’s the champ for now,” Joshua said following the fight. “Just put that in mind, he’s the champ for now. I shall return. I’ve got to bounce back. This is all part of the story and the journey.

“I’ve got to get that solid armory. This is the risk we take, but we’ll bounce back.”

4. Hearn Refutes Rumor Of AJ KO’ed In Sparring

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing UK

Rumors surfaced on Monday that Anthony Joshua was not only knocked out in sparring, but had suffered a concussion in the process, prior to his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr on June 1st.

“Absolutely there is no truth that he was badly hurt in sparring, there were no health concerns going into the fight,” Hearn told The Telegraph of his fighter who lost his unified world heavyweight championships.

Hearn was chastised by Joshua’s father, Robert in the aftermath of the fight, and was seen with marks on his face prior to stepping into the ring.

While the conspiracy theory may be true, the New York State Athletic Commission is considered to be one of the strictest in the United States, but that has traditionally been in the case of Mixed Martial Arts and even professional wrestling (which is under their jurisdiction), but Hearn denies any chance that Joshua walked in their less than 100%.

“The biggest concern was a stye on his eye,” the Matchroom Boxing boss said in the post fight scrum.

“He’s putting on a brave face after the defeat, but he is already starting to think about getting ­revenge – the rematch is a huge fight and there’s a lot of pressure on AJ to win it.”

5. Wilder: The Pressure Made Joshua Quit Ruiz Fight

Credit: Sean Michael Ham/
Mayweather Promotions

While Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua have confirmed a rematch will go down at the end of 2019, WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder believes Joshua wants nothing to do with Andy Ruiz Jr.

“I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Did you see what just happened? This man is mentally broken. He quit. Joshua quit in that ring. To a challenger,” Wilder told Talk Sport.

“That’s the most disappointing thing about it. Being a champion, being boosted up so much, and you go in there and quit, that’s a sign. When he spat that mouthpiece out for the first time, that’s a sign. The referee told him to come forward he stayed there. He put his hands on the ropes. The referee told him to come forward. He stayed. That’s another indication, ‘I don’t want to fight no more.’

“He gave up. He quit. Because of so much pressure,” Wilder continued on Joshua being TKO’ed by Ruiz jr on June 1st. “His promoters put so much pressure on him. He probably didn’t want that much pressure on him. He shouldn’t have had to think about what I done. It was a lot of pressure and people won’t understand that. I heard he was having a breakdown in the dressing room.”

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