WBO, WBA, IBF, and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has openly discussed his huge upset defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019. ‘AJ’ quickly rebounded, picking up a unanimous decision win against Ruiz in an eagerly anticipated rematch six months later.
Speaking to GQ Magazine Joshua admitted the defeat highlighted problems that had long been apparent to him. He labeled it a “blessing in disguise” that has allowed him to become a better fighter.
“There were certain things I was talking about perhaps two years ahead of that loss, and the defeat just showcased them,” Joshua said. “I know people say crazy things like, ‘Oh, we were planning on that loss,’ but it really was a blessing in disguise. It highlighted everything I had been concerned about. After that it was simple: these are the changes I’ve been talking about, now you need to listen.”
By the time Ruiz-Joshua II came around in December 2019 it was clear ‘AJ’ had made some serious changes to his training regimen. Joshua stepped on the scales at lean 237.5lbs, which was considerably lighter than the 247.75lbs he weighed six months prior.
“Losing to Andy made me rethink and restructure. I took the positives out of it, but it wasn’t easy. My training camp was six weeks of pure hell,” said Joshua. “I had new team members, I had injuries I was trying to overcome. There were so many different issues. But we got there in the end through will, determination and intelligence.”
Joshua is set to defend his titles against his IBF mandatory challnager Kubrat Pulev later this year. Afterwards it’s hoped he will compete in an all-British undisputed fight with Tyson Fury who holds the WBC heavyweight title. ‘The Gypsy King’ must first get by Deontay Wilder who has triggered a rematch clause after losing his title to the Englishman earlier this year.
Do you think Anthony Joshua has improved since his loss to Andy Ruiz?