Promoter Eddie Hearn says that Anthony Joshua needs to ‘snap out of’ whatever lull he was in during the first Andy Ruiz fight, but also has a stark warning for the American ahead of the heavyweight rematch.
Joshua was beaten by Ruiz in June, stopped in the seventh round in a huge upset at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
While numerous reasons were bandied about for AJ’s shock defeat, the man himself has blamed it on a lack of focus as he was not interested in fighting Ruiz, preferring to take on WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
The former champion’s promoter suggests that he needs to forget all thoughts of taking on Wilder for now and fully concentrate on winning the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles back from the Destroyer when they meet again in Saudi Arabia on 7 December.
‘I think he’s just got to snap out of it,’ said Hearn.
‘I think he was disillusioned with the sport because he wanted to fight Deontay Wilder.
‘He couldn’t get that fight and as he said in the interview [with Sky Sports], he didn’t really want to fight Andy Ruiz. But tough, you fought him and you fought a real hungry guy.’
Hearn clearly believes that he has snapped out of it and will be fully prepared to gain revenge on Ruiz as he claims that AJ is now dead set on knocking out the champion to get his hands on the belts once again.
‘He doesn’t even want to talk to him, he wants to knock him clean out,’ Hearn continued. ‘He didn’t have that feeling last time but it’s a new game now, a new game. Josh wants to take his head off.
‘He’s thinking “I’ve tried to be the role model, I’ve tried to be that guy but people have slagged me off and said what they want to say – now I’ll say something back”.
‘Josh can’t win so he’s decided, do you know what, maybe it’s a new approach, bring back the nasty Josh. We hope that nasty Josh comes out for the Ruiz fight.’
The two heavyweights will meet for the first time since their famous bout next week at press conferences in Riyadh, New York and London from Wednesday to Friday in a hectic three days to promote the fight which Hearn describes as ‘absolutely huge.’