Unified heavyweight title champion, Anthony Joshua has revealed he was compromised going into his first fight with Andy Ruiz Jr., according to express.co.uk.
Joshua suffered a stunning seventh-round TKO defeat to the unfancied Mexican-American at Madison Square Garden in June. Ruiz Jr, a late replacement for the disgraced Jarrell Miller, dropped Joshua four times in his ill-fated American debut – which brought about the end of his reign as unified heavyweight champion.
Following his first professional loss, several conspiracy theories over Joshua’s wellbeing before the fight started to swirl. All of those were denied by Joshua and his management, the latter of whom vehemently dismissed the notion of the Olympian having any issues before his clash with ‘The Destroyer’.
But six months removed from that fateful night at MSG, Joshua has revealed he was not 100 percent fit for his debut across the pond. During an appearance on radio Joshua said he had some issue with his health which he was going through for a long time.
“I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I felt so tired and drained and thought it must be down to training.
“In the changing room before the fight I got a bucket of ice and was putting my head in it thinking ‘why do I feel so tired?’“The responsibilities of being world champion are difficult. All that stuff, feeling so tired, dealing with obligations. Now I have energy, I haven’t missed a session.”
Joshua, 30, then revealed his mystery health issue forced him to go under the knife ahead of his rematch with Ruiz Jr. He added: “After my check-ups it showed what the problem was and this is what you have to get sorted. “Even in this camp I had an operation done but as I’d started training in June I had no issues.”
Joshua rematched Mexico’s first heavyweight champion – who dethroned him on six weeks’ notice – in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.
The Olympian erased the memory of his first defeat with a unanimous decision victory over ‘The Destroyer’, whom he picked apart for 12 rounds with his jab and footwork. Ruiz Jr had no answer for Joshua’s jab, which kept him at bay and prevented him from landing the heavy shots which saw him dethrone the Brit earlier in 2019.
The 29-year-old was bitterly disappointed with his performance, which he believes was drastically affected by his rapid weight gain between fights. “It was his night, man,” a crestfallen Ruiz Jr said of Joshua in his post-fight interview. “I think I didn’t prepare how I should’ve.
“I gained too much weight. But I don’t want to give excuses. He boxed me around. But you know what, if we do the third fight, you best believe I’m going to get in the f*****g the best shape and I’m going to be in the best shape of my life.”
When pressed further on his larger physique, Ruiz Jr added: “It kind of affected me a lot. I thought I was going to feel stronger and going to be better. “But you know what, I think the next fight I’m going to be more prepared and I’m going to work with my team a bit more. I tried to train myself, kind of, for this preparation. “Like I said, I don’t want to give no excuses. Anthony Joshua did a hell of a job.”