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Joshua: ‘I believe I beat Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury’

Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury boxing photo and news image

By Charles Brun:  Anthony Joshua would like to make his next fight against the winner of the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury rematch winner, and believes he can beat either one of those fighters. WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) and Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) are fighting on February 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

AJ recaptured his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight belts with an outstanding 12 round unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) last Saturday night in Saudi Arabia. Joshua likes the fact that he went ahead and took the immediate rematch despite the boxing world telling him he shouldn’t do it.

Joshua not getting full credit for beating Ruiz

This time, Joshua got the last laugh, but he could have problems in the future if he gets beaten again, and decides to take the rematch straightaway. Being stubborn helped Joshua in this case, but you also have to look at the fact that Ruiz didn’t take training seriously. He basically forfeited his titles to Joshua by coming in at 283 lbs, and not having the conditioning to win.

Joshua must take care of his IBF and WBO mandatory that are due

The winner of that contest might be willing to face Joshua in a match for the undisputed heavyweight championship, but it’s unlikely to happen. Joshua has back to back mandatory defenses due for his IBF and WBO belts coming up in 2020, and he’s thus far not expressed a desire to vacate one or both of those titles. Mandatory challengers Oleksandr Usyk and Kubrat Pulev are waiting for their title shots against Joshua.

Even if Joshua vacates one of the straps, he would still need to fight a mandatory in his next fight for him to keep the belt. The IBF and WBO want Joshua to defend against their fighters next, and they’re unlikely to give way to let him squeeze in a unification fight against the Wilder-Fury 2 winner.

Joshua wants Wilder vs. Fury 2 winner

“I would love to make that my next fight. I’m taking one step at a time,” said Joshua to Good Morning Britain about a fight between him and the Wilder vs. Fury 2 winner. “Whenever their ready, they know where to find us.

I’m not a running champion, I’m someone who’ll fight the best in the world. As you mentioned, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are the those guys. I would love the opportunity to fight Tyson Fury or beat Deontay Wilder. You can see, I definitely believe so,” said Joshua, when asked if he beats Wilder and Fury.  Why I say you can see is because I’ve displayed different styles of fighting. Sometimes inside fighting, sometimes outside fighting, sometimes a boxing man’s fight. So I feel like I have their number, because I can display a variety of skills when it comes to boxing,” said Joshua.

Just because Joshua beat a badly overweight Ruiz using the Wladimir Klitschko style of fighting doesn’t mean he can do the same thing against an in shape Wilder and Fury. Those fighters wouldn’t be troubled by Joshua’s ring movement, which wasn’t that great to be honest.

Joshua’s movement looked good against the short 6’2″, 283 lb Ruiz, but he wasn’t facing a big well conditioned heavyweight with the ability to cut off the ring on him. Wilder and Fury would have little problems forcing Joshua to fight by narrowing the ring, and landing their shots. With Wilder, he only needs to land one hard right hand, and that’s it. Joshua was hit a number of times by Ruiz despite him coming in so heavy. What happens when Wilder lands those same shots on the chin of Joshua?

Joshua happy he didn’t change training team

“No excuses last time,” said Joshua. “Andy Ruiz is a great former champion, and he done well, and he beat me fair and square. This time I was concentrating on my job. I didn’t listen to these so called boxing experts, who told me I wouldn’t be able to reclaim my belts, and it’s dangerous to go straight into a rematch.

“Not many heavyweight have been able to reclaim their belts. But I believed in my team, I kept my same team that everyone told me to get rid of. I feel like loyalty proves strength, and I went out there and we proved how good we really are. All the great things are going to happen for me,” said Joshua.

One reason people wanted Joshua to get rid of his trainer Rob McCracken because he had let him carry around so much muscle on his physique in the last five years of his career, and it had long ago been obvious to all that it was hurting his conditioning. Boxing fans felt that McCracken should have insisted that Joshua trim down to the 230s so that he could fight without gassing, and have the ability to move around the ring. Unfortunately, it took a loss by Joshua for him to realize he needs to take off weight.

Ruiz didn’t train like a champion – Joshua

“I would have loved to have trained the way Andy trained, but in reality that’s not the way of a champion,” said Joshua about Ruiz’s approach to training for their rematch. “Andy can say all these things, but he knew he had a ight, and he knew the best way to prepare. Unfortunately, it didn’t go his way, and I know he can make those changes. He knows his mistakes, and he just needs to go out there and get it right. I hope he comes back again,” said Joshua.

It’s pretty clear that Ruiz didn’t take his training camp seriously for the Joshua rematch, and he’s learned a huge lesson. Ruiz thought he could beat Joshua by being heavy. The ease of Ruiz’s previous win over Joshua last June gave him the impression that he could beat him while carrying around a lot of weight, but he failed to understand that he wasn’t going to stand in front of him in the rematch.

During the months leading into the rematch, Ruiz said he would come in leaner so that he could cut off the ring on Joshua. It’s unclear whether Ruiz was just joking or if he lost control of his eating, and didn’t take the training seriously.

Andy Ruiz’s dad wanted to cancel rematch with Joshua

“What happened with Andy was he was overweight. He was thinking he was going to make a good showing being overweight,” said Andy Ruiz Sr. to IFL TV. “I was always telling Andy that being overweight was going to affect him. The weight that I wanted him to fight Anthony Joshua was going to be 255, but that’s what happened.

“He didn’t train the proper way. There was too many interviews, and too many distractions in the camp. I was telling Andy and Manny [Robles] about the situation, but he wasn’t understanding. Now he saw what happened, and he realizes that me and Manny were telling the truth to him.

I could have done that, but for you to do that, you have to have a lot of proof of an injury,” said Ruiz Sr. about pulling Andy from the fight due to his poor conditioning. “Then you’ve got to go with the lawyers. I wanted Andy to have more time, because I was telling him that, ‘You got to calm down, and settle down. The rematch is going to come, and you’re getting too much weight,'” said Ruiz Sr.

Obviously, Ruiz couldn’t pull out of the fight due to him being overweight. That wouldn’t have worked. If they had said that he was injured, then it would have required doctors to examine him. With all the money on the line for the rematch with Joshua, it would have been a mistake for Ruiz to pull out of the fight. Moreover, Ruiz believed that he could beat Joshua while weighing a lot, and so he probably wouldn’t have knuckled down to train harder if given more time.

Ruiz Jr. will learn from this loss

“He’s young, and the fame came,” said Ruiz Sr. about Andy. “Now he realizes he should have listened to me. I thought it was going to be too hard. With him overweight, it was going to be too hard to move, and stick around with Anthony Joshua, and keep on going at the same pace. He was so overweight. I was thinking it would have to be a miracle for him to win.

“He learned from this fight now, and he’s listening to me. It’s going to change his life. He’s going to learn a lesson, and we’re looking for another rematch with Anthony Joshua. In a year, we can fight again with him. Anthony Joshua is going to make fights,” said Ruiz Sr.

We’ll see if Ruiz learns from his loss to Joshua or not, but he might not. Ruiz’s lack of discipline for the fight is something that has caused him problems in the past. It’s not like this was the first time that Ruiz didn’t control his weight.

Ruiz already had a lot more training time for the rematch than he did for the first fight with AJ, and it didn’t help him. He wasted the time.


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