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Bradley: Anthony Joshua needs a game plan for Andy Ruiz rematch

Anthony Joshua Timothy Bradley

By Charles Brun: Tim Bradley is predicting a more better prepared Anthony Joshua for his second fight against Andy Ruiz Jr. on December 7 in Saudi Arabia. Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) recognizes what he did wrong last June in his loss to Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), and he’ll come back with a better plan than in the first fight.

Bradley says Joshua, 29, needs to redeem himself, as he’s got a lot to prove after being blotted out in 7 rounds by Ruiz Jr. on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Tim is in agreement that Joshua wasn’t mentally ready for the fight with Ruiz the first time around, and he didn’t have any ideas.

Is Hearn purposefully hiding Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch in Saudi Arabia?

Bradley wonders why they’re staging the Joshua-Ruiz rematch in Saudi Arabia. That seems a little strange. Joshua’s promoters at Matchroom Boxing say the rationale for staging it in that location was the huge offer that made by the Saudi organizers. However, there are some who believe that the true reason why the Joshua vs. Ruiz fight is taking place in Saudi Arabia is due to the potential of AJ losing again by knockout.

Joshua being knocked out in front of 10,000 to 12,000 fans in a far away country like Saudi Arabia lessens the impact than if the fight took place in London in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. Fewer people will see the Joshua vs. Ruiz fight live with it taking place in Saudi Arabia.

If Hearn’s overriding reason for staging the Joshua-Ruiz rematch in Saudi Arabia is to make it so fewer people see him losing, then he’ll have accomplished that goal. There aren’t a lot of boxing fans that will be willing to fork over the dough to travel to Saudi Arabia, and stay expensive hotels. There’s no alcohol or gambling allowed in the country. It would be a less appealing option for a lot of boxing fans to want to go through the hassles of making the trip.

Bradley: Joshua is going to have his chin tested by Ruiz

“I think that’s an interesting choice to be fighting, Saudi Arabia,” said Bradley to IFL TV bout the Joshua vs. Ruiz rematch. “There is a lot of money there. I’m glad Ruiz was able to get his fair share with what he was comfortable with. I think Joshua needs this rematch. He needs to redeem himself. I think Joshua understands what he did wrong the first time around.

Joshua is going to have to face some of those demons, especially when he gets hit on the chin. He’s going to have to answer that call, because Ruiz is going to test his heart. He’s going to test that chin again, and if Joshua isn’t ready, like he wasn’t the first time, then you’ll probably see the same thing. Probably the same thing is going to happen. So, mental toughness is a big part of this. Ruiz is going to do what Ruiz always does. He’s going to get in shape for this fight. And Ruiz can probably harden his body a little bit more coming into it with better conditioning,” said Bradley.

Joshua didn’t do that many things wrong in the first fight with Ruiz. He did the right thing of trying to finish Ruiz after he knocked him down with a booming left hook in round 3, but he got caught after Andy got back up. If Joshua hurts Ruiz in the rematch, he’ll be making a mistake if he doesn’t trying to finish him off.

Bradley: We need the Joshua that fought Klitschko

“He’s confident coming into this fight, whereas Joshua isn’t confident,” said Bradley. “He’s going to have to be head strong. Joshua is definitely going to need to come in with a good game plan, and Joshua needs to behave like a big man. You know the Joshua we need?  We need the Joshua from the [Wladimir] Klitschko fight. That’s the Anthony Joshua that we need to see if he wants to get his belts back. A guy that can get hit, go down, get up, and then knock a man out. That’s the Joshua we need to see. That guy needs to come back out in this fight,” said Bradley.

The Joshua that fought 40-year-old Wladimir Klitschko might not be good enough to beat Ruiz Jr. in the rematch, because he was lucky to win that fight. Wladimir lost the fight against Joshua by making a critical error of not looking to finish him after he had him down in the 6th. Johnathon Banks, the trainer for Klitschko, asked him to finish Joshua after round 6, but he chose to ignore him. Wladimir thought he could box his way to a decision. When Ruiz Jr. had Joshua hurt in round 3, he didn’t make the same mistake Wladimir did by not going for the knockout.

Bradley thinks Joshua reacted wrongly when criticized by Lewis

“He’s a young guy. [Lewis] is a vet, man. He’s a legend,” said Bradley when asked about his thoughts on Joshua calling Lennox Lewis a “clown” recently. “For me, I think Joshua is a little bit insecure. Lennox said something about him that Joshua didn’t like, and then he reacts to it. I just thing sometimes you need to take the high road. It’s okay to take a little criticism.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s constructive, you know? But I wouldn’t behave like that. I wouldn’t bounce back like that with Lennox. That guy is the man, bro. It’s like saying if I was a basketball player and Michael Jordan said something about me, I’m not going to go at Michael Jordan. You just don’t do that. You know what I mean? Have some respect? Everyone’s different,” said Bradley.

It’s possible that Joshua now views himself as being on the same perch as Lewis, and that’s why he didn’t mind verbally attacking him.  Seeing it through Joshua’s eyes, he likely feels he’s accomplished the same thing Lewis did during his career. The reality is much different. Lewis’s resume is far better than Joshua’s six-year resume. It’s still early yet for Joshua, and he could eventually surpass Lewis. But as of now, Joshua is nowhere near what Lewis accomplished as a pro.

Lewis’s gold medal in the 1988 Olympics was a conclusive stoppage win over Riddick Bowe. Joshua’s 2012 Olympic gold medal was controversial, as many thought he lost to Roberto Cammarelle in the final. They also think Joshua should have lost to Cuban fighter Erislandy Savon, and Ivan Dychko from Kazakhstan. The 2012 Olympics took place in London, England. That may have had a bearing on the way the judges scored Joshua’s fights.

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