Promoter Eddie Hearn discusses Anthony Joshua’s loss to Andy Ruiz Jr, Ruiz saying he wants $50 million to do the rematch in the UK, and more.
On being on the “wrong end” of history
“Listen, it was an unbelievable honor for me to promote an event at Madison Square Garden. I put on a really deep card, I wanted to give the fans value for money. We chose Andy Ruiz because we knew he was tough. We knew he’d give AJ a great fight. We didn’t expect that he’d beat him, but he was fantastic.
“The only thing that’s annoyed me a little bit coming out of the fight is that everyone’s like, ‘Joshua wasn’t right, Joshua got hurt in sparring, Joshua had a panic attack’ — it’s all rubbish! Just give Andy Ruiz his props! He was fantastic that night, he was a deserved winner.
“Joshua’s got to work hard, he’s got to realize what he did wrong, and he’s got to put it right in the rematch. It’s going to be really hard for him. Andy’s a well-schooled fighter and his confidence is gonna go through the roof with this win. I just hope he eats too many Snickers, puts on too much weight, and doesn’t came back with the same desire.
“I really like Andy Ruiz. I texted him and I said, ‘If we’re going to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was you.’ I know the fire that’s burning inside Anthony Joshua right now, and this rematch is gonna be epic.”
On Ruiz wanting $50 million and whether or not the deal is already signed
“I don’t talk too much about contracts. Their team know. People say Ruiz should get where he wants it to go — Ruiz got the opportunity, we picked Ruiz, he wasn’t mandatory. Obviously there was a rematch clause. What I will say is if Andy Ruiz beats Joshua again, he’s free, he’s golden, now you’re talking about superstardom. So he’s changed his life.
“We will advise probably the next two weeks where the rematch will be. To me, let’s take it to the UK. AJ’s the sick kind of guy, he said to me a couple days ago, ‘Maybe we should do it in the Garden again.’ I’m like, what? He went, ‘Well that’s where it went wrong, so maybe that’s where I should put it right.’ That’s an incredible attitude.
“For me, we don’t know if boxing in America was a disadvantage to you. We just don’t know. But boxing in the UK will be an advantage for you. He said, ‘Yeah, but I’m the challenger now, shouldn’t we bring it back?’ I’m like, you’re too nice. So we’ve got some decisions to make and they’ll come very soon.”
On Deontay Wilder’s reaction
“He’s got no class. Why do you think Wilder’s stock has risen so much in the last year and a half? Number one, he’s a great fighter, entertaining fighter. Number two, he’s used Anthony Joshua’s name as hard as he can. All these heavyweights are making this kind of money because of Anthony Joshua, what he’s done in the last two or three years. He’s taken the game to another level.
“AJ is not really in the school of kick someone when he’s down. If Ortiz knocks out Wilder, do you really think AJ would come out on social media and go, ‘A-ha! You’re this, you’re that’? He would just say, ‘I hope you come back from this and blessings to you.’ But everyone’s different. Some people thrive off other peoples failure. Some people are happy when others don’t succeed. That’s not this camp.”
On Joshua maybe not being motivated because he’s made a lot of money
“All I can tell you is there was no problems in the camp. Camp went well. So was he motivated in the fight? I have to say yes. Was he as motivated in that fight as he’s been for others? Maybe not. Will he be more motivated in a rematch? Hell yeah.
“Marvin Hagler once said it’s very difficult to get up and do your hill sprints when you’re wearing silk pajamas. Which is so true in boxing, isn’t it? As soon as that desire goes is when it becomes really tough. This is maybe what he needed to bring that desire back. This rematch will be a true test of his character.”