Joshua vs Ruiz: AJ and Eddie Hearn confirm they will trigger clause for immediate rematch after losing world titles

Joshua lost all three heavyweight world titles after being stopped in the seventh round by Ruiz

Jack de Menezes
Sunday 02 June 2019 05:44
Anthony Joshua reacts to shocking Andy Ruiz defeat

Anthony Joshua will trigger his rematch clause immediately to fight Andy Ruiz Jr before the end of the year after suffering a surprise defeat in their heavyweight title fight in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Joshua’s American dream turned into a nightmare on his United States debut as he suffered a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden, having been knocked down for the fourth time in the fight.

The 29-year-old, who was previously unbeaten before the fight, put Ruiz down in the third but went on to suffer two knockdowns of his own before the end of the round as the Mexican-American rallied.

When Joshua was sent to the canvas two further times in the seventh round, referee Mike Griffin waved the fight off when the Briton was unresponsive to his commands in the corner, having taken around 24 seconds from the start of the count to try and regain his bearings.

The loss is a massive setback for Joshua’s plans to try and force a fight with either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder, and both Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that they will activate a rematch clause in their contract for a bout based in the United Kingdom in either November or December this year.

“We put together a strong team and I’m the first to take a loss. We’ll bounce back,” said Joshua.

“I’ve got to get that f****** fire in my belly – sorry about my language – get that solid armoury, but this is the risk we take. But we’ll bounce back. Congratulations to him, every fighter deserves respect. I respect every fighter. This is part of the legacy and story, I look forward to seeing where I went wrong.

“He’s the champ for now. I shall return.”

Hearn was unusually critical of Joshua and blamed his failure to stick to the fight plan as a key reason for the defeat, but added that they will now begin talks to bring the newly-crowned WBA, WBO and IBF champion Ruiz to Britain at a fight that suddenly carries a lot more weight to it.

“AJ got sloppy. It was a beautiful combination I think in the third round. He was in total control of the fight and he got sloppy, got caught and never recovered,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

Eddie Hearn confirmed they will seek a rematch for Joshua against Ruiz Jr

“I thought at times he might have recovered in those rounds but listen, tonight belongs to Andy Ruiz. It’s a massive upset.

“AJ will be back 100 per cent, we’ll make the rematch in the UK in November/December but tonight deserves and belongs to Andy Ruiz. He made history, it was a massive heavyweight shock tonight, it’ll go down in history as a very, very big one and now we’ll see what AJ’s about. I know he’s got the heart of a lion, he’ll be back. We’ll rebuild and at least we know who our opponent is for the end of the year. It’s going to be a big rematch in the UK but Ruiz deserves it tonight.”

Andy Ruiz became the first Mexican heavyweight world champion

Asked it Joshua was off his game for any reason, Hearn was unable to elaborate.

“I don’t know. He looked flat at times, he got hit on the top of the head when he got sloppy when it looked like he had Ruiz out. An incredible third round, it was a great fight. He’ll learn a lot from this, mountain tops and valleys as they say, this is a massive blow for him but he will be back. I know he’ll be even hungrier now and maybe this is what he needs? Every now and then you get a defeat like this and you’ve got to bounce back. He’ll have another shot at Luiz later this year but he needs to win, it’s a must-win fight now.

“Absolutely, and Andy Ruiz will believe he can win the rematch, and if he does he’s in an absolutely unbelievable position – he already is. AJ’s got to rebuild, come back stronger and let the fire burn inside him. He’s got to want to want this back

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