Joshua learns the lessons to avenge defeat
08 December 2019 / 08:50
Anthony Joshua wrote his name alongside the likes of Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson as he reclaimed his world heavyweight title in convincing fashion.
Those legends all lost but then regained their prized belts and six months after he was stunned by stand-in Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden, Joshua learned the lessons and gained revenge.
He schooled his Mexican rival, going back to his amateur days - when he won Olympic gold at London 2012 - boxing clever, not taking risks and building up a commanding points victory.
And when the bell rung in the 12th round, Ruiz didn’t need to wait for the judges’ scorecards - he knew he was a beaten man.
"I didn't want to get too carried away but it is emotional," he said.
"I'm a man that has made mistakes and when I was on a losing path in life, I matured and bounced back.
"I know that my fans like to see me knock people out and I can do that but sometimes with certain fighters you have to box smarter.
"I’ve the utmost respect for Andy Ruiz who beat me fair and square in that first exam. I failed the first time but I came back, studied him and passed.
"This ranks second for me. The first would be my fight against Wladimir Klitschko - it means so much to me and I learned so much from that fight.
"I respect Wladimir so much and he still gives me so much advice. This fight ranks number two though."
Rob McCracken, who has worked with Joshua since masterminding his success at London 2012, believes defeat in New York has made his fighter an even more dangerous prospect - sharpening his desire and improving his attitude.
"I think he was where I wanted him to be for this fight," he said.
"He has listened in camp, worked really hard, and I thought he boxed very well against a dangerous fighter."
Both Joshua but, more surprisingly promoter Eddie Hearn, were quiet on the next target - though the call to unify the division, which means taking on either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, will surely grow louder and louder.
Ruiz was quick to call for a rematch while the WBO - Joshua also took back the IBF and WBA belts - have said he must face Ukraine's Usyk within 180 days.