The whole boxing world was shocked when Andy Ruiz Jr beat Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles. The seventh round stoppage was the culmination of a subdued performance from the former champion in which he never got going in the way that he normally does. That’s not to say that Ruiz Jr didn’t deserve his win, he fought well and has shown on numerous occasions that he can hang with anyone once the bell is rung.
This surely is the end of Joshua being automatically positioned as the favourite when he fights. For a long time now he has been placed as the favourite by the bookies because of how easily he dominates his opponents. Ruiz Jr made this a different prospect from the start even though not one of the better sportsbook sites out there had him down as the favourite. The odds were as high as 250/1 for a Ruiz Jr win in the seventh, which were almost a hundred times what was available on a Joshua win in the seventh. When looking closer we saw this could mean that Joshua will be starting more fights in line with his opponents, or even as the underdog if he can’t regain his titles in the rematch.
Tyson’s tongue unleashes the fury
With Tyson Fury on the loose you never know what’s going to be said and he has made his thoughts about Anthony Joshua known on a number of occasions in recent times. Firstly, he did an interview where he spoke candidly about his respect for Joshua. During this interview Fury spoke about how he believed that what Anthony Joshua has achieved in his life is impressive.
Joshua’s ability to go from a relatively impoverished background to heavyweight champion of the world is something that Fury believes should be heralded. However, as a boxer Fury is less than impressed with Joshua. In Fury’s own words, Joshua is finished in the ring because he didn’t want to be there.
Without wanting to delve too far into cliche, but in Fury’s opinion unless Joshua can regain the eye of the tiger he is finished as a top level boxer. He said that he could tell that Joshua didn’t want to be in the ring before the bell had even rung. “When a man doesn't want to be there once, he will always do it and it's hard to come back from”. This quote is likely to ring in the ears of Anthony Joshua who has been quick to dispel any rumours about his mindset or condition going into the fight with Ruiz Jr. Tyson’s tongue unleashes the fury
With a rematch clause built into the contract for the match, Anthony Joshua will want to ensure that he manages to regain his reputation that he had worked so hard to build up. It will be difficult for Joshua to be taken seriously at the top of the heavyweight game unless he can prove he can come back from adversity.
With Fury calling for Joshua to retire unless he wins the rematch, all eyes will be on whether Joshua can regain the aura that made him such and intimidating and dominant champion. His ability has never been in question, but for the first time in his career his desire is.