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Tyson Fury shows sympathy for Joshua after loss to Ruiz Jr.

Anthony Joshua Tyson Fury

By Dan Ambrose: Tyson Fury came out of the woodwork tonight to show some words of sympathy and encouragement to former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua after his surprise seventh round technical knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Ruiz Jr. knocked Joshua down twice in round three, and two more times in the seventh round. Referee Michael Griffin didn’t like the response from Joshua when he asked him if he wanted to continue fighting after the second knockdown in the seventh. Joshua said he wanted to continue, but he looked mentally disengaged from the process. It was painfully obvious Joshua didn’t want to continue fighting. The referee was astute enough to pick up on that.

Each time Joshua would land a meaningful punch, Ruiz Jr. would explode with a burst of fast and powerful punches. Joshua looked like he was afraid to throw anything after he was knocked down twice in the third round. In the seventh, Joshua finally showed some courage, and landed a big left hook that wobbled Ruiz Jr. That was the final straw. Ruiz Jr. went on the attack mode with vengeance, hitting Joshua with everything but the kitchen sink in knocking him down twice to force the stoppage.

It’s interesting that Ruiz Jr. only seemed to respond when he was getting hit by Joshua. Ruiz Jr. didn’t want to lead. He had to be hit for him to show initiative. Ruiz Jr. obviously can’t fight that way against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. If Ruiz Jr. waits for Wilder to bounce a right hand off of his head before he goes on the attack, it’ll be too late. Wilder will knock him out in the first round like he did Dominic Breazeale.

Of all people to give Joshua words of support in his hour of need, it’s a bit of a surprise that Fury is the one that is symbolically picking Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) back up, and dusting him off to help him mentally regroup after his loss to Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) last Saturday night on DAZN.

Joshua couldn’t handle Ruiz’s power

The way that Ruiz Jr. dealt with Joshua tonight, Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) would have likely done just as good a job on him if not better. Joshua looked like he had zero punch resistance at all. He couldn’t take any of the shots that Ruiz Jr. was hitting him with tonight without getting staggered. Even the body shots that Ruiz Jr. landed were clearly bothering Joshua. He literally felt every punch that Ruiz Jr. threw at him in this fight. In hindsight, Ruiz Jr. made the right move in keeping his weight high at 268 pounds for the fight instead of draining down in weight to look thinner.

It’s too bad Fury didn’t agree to the 60-40 purse split offer Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn offered him, because it could have been him in there tonight instead of Ruiz Jr. Oh well, that’s how it goes.

“That was a crushing defeat for Anthony Joshua,” said former super middleweight champion Carl Froch to “It’s one of the biggest upsets I’ve ever seen in my whole life, no one expected that. The problem for Joshua is that he’s showed every other heavyweight how fragile he can be.”

The next biggest upset in the history of heavyweight boxing is Buster Douglas’s 11th round knockout win over IBF/WBA/WBC champion Mike Tyson in February 1990. Tyson came into the fight with Douglas a big favorite.

Froch brings up a good point about Joshua having shown how truly horrible his punch resistance is or lack thereof. He couldn’t handle any of Ruiz’s shots tonight. It didn’t look like Ruiz Jr. was throwing with massive power. He threw fast punches that split Joshua’s guard, and messed him all up. For example, when Ruiz Jr. put together three and four-punch combinations, Joshua couldn’t block the incoming, and he fell apart. In looking at Ruiz hurting Joshua badly in the third round with his combination punching, he made it look easy.

Joshua needs to retool his game before he comes again

Heavyweights in the past like Wladimir Klitschko and Evander Holyfield were able to rebuild themselves after losses. Klitschko, of course, had more to work with in terms of technical ability than Joshua has. Unfortunately, Joshua isn’t as technically oriented as Wladimir was, and it’ll be tougher for him to come with a different style. The biggest flaw that Joshua showed in his loss to Ruiz Jr. stemmed from his inability to take his power. That’s not something that can ever be fixed, however.

The only thing Joshua can do with that is to make sure that he doesn’t let his opponents get near enough to land their shots. Joshua wasn’t using his jab tonight, and he didn’t look he could even if he wanted to. If Joshua use his jab more, lose some weight to get trimmer, and move around the ring, he could improve. Wladimir used a lot of clinching to keep his shorter opponents from landing their shots.

Joshua doesn’t do that. Had Joshua tied up Ruiz Jr. each time he came in close tonight, he would have nullified a big portion of Ruiz’s offense.

You hate to say it, but Joshua needs to dump his trainer Rob McCracken pronto, and get with Johnathon Banks, who trained under Emmanuel Steward virtually his entire pro career before the legendary trainer passed away in 2012. McCracken is a good trainer for some fighters, but Joshua is a special case. He has a major chin and stamina problem that requires a Steward-esque type trainer like Banks. Wladimir had the same stamina and chin problems Joshua has, but Steward put together a great strategy for him to workout around that problem.

Steward helped Wladimir turn his career around by having him use clinching and distance to keep from getting hit. Wladimir’s punch resistance was no better than Joshua’s, but he did a good job of keeping his opponents from hitting him with his use of clinching. As such, Joshua needs to dump McCracken and join up with Banks. Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin recently switched over from Abel Sanchez to Banks, and he’s looking considerably improved under his guidance.

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