The mood has certainly changed for Anthony Joshua in the lead-up to his anticipated rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. Despite a formal announcement from Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, saying that the fight will be taking place on December 7th in Saudi Arabia, Ruiz has thrown some cold water on that idea for the time being. The rematch will almost certainly happen, but some of the particulars are apparently still be negotiated.
In the meanwhile, though, Joshua has gone from being extremely gracious in defeat to essentially dismissing his upset loss to Ruiz as a fluke. In fact Joshua just recently said that his loss to Ruiz came “by a lucky punch. By a punch sent by the gods.”
Joshua says that after he dropped Ruiz he should’ve taken his time to let some of the punishment soak in on his opponent, but that his gut instinct was to rush in for a finish which caused him to get caught with a shot he never fully recovered from.
“Ruiz Jr got hit by a flash knock-down - he was still raw, he wasn’t well-done, he wasn’t cooked yet. I should have left him a little bit longer. But the instinct in me was: ‘Boom!’
“I ended up getting caught with a left hook on the top of the head.”
After continuing by saying that Ruiz isn’t that skillful a fighter, Joshua gets asked what he needs to do in order to make sure the rematch goes his way. Joshua responded by saying:
“Do what I did in round three, but with more silky skill. And that was easy to put him down. So I need to be smarter, next time.”
The noticeable change in Joshua’s demeanor as of late, including his public undressing of Lennox Lewis, has some thinking that Joshua is starting to crack under the pressure of this rematch. But maybe Joshua’s just getting a little pissed off, which could prove beneficial in other ways. I suppose we’ll all find out soon enough.