Nigeria’s Anthony Joshua has spoken at length about his first professional defeat after losing by seventh-round stoppage.
Anthony Joshua has denied he suffered a panic attack before his shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr. Joshua lost his three heavyweight world titles to his chubby rival at Madison Square Garden last Saturday.
He was dropped four times en-route to a seventh-round stoppage as he lost for the first time as a professional. Since then social media has been ablaze with rumours that Joshua’s build-up was affected. Claims have been made that he was knocked out in sparring by European champion Agit Kabayel and that Joshua suffered a panic attack in the dressing room.
But the now former champion has taken full responsibility for the defeat in a lengthy video posted on his YouTube channel. “The whole training camp team pulled together,” he said. “I started my camp in Sheffield, worked there for six or seven weks; then came to New York for the press tour. There were a lot of issues with Jarrell Miller (who tested positive for three banned substances), [Luis] Ortiz pulling out, and Ruiz stepping in, but it all makes for the drama show, the entertainment of heavyweight boxing. I went to Miami where the set up was spot on. There are lot of accusations and worries about what went wrong with me but I’m a solider and I have to take my ups and downs. I had no panic attack, I’m not that type of person. I have to take my loss like a man, I’m not blaming any man or any thing. I went in there to perform and my performance didn’t go to plan, my game plan didn’t go to plan. On Saturday I took a loss and I have to take it like a man. Never let success go to your head, and never let your failures get to your heart. It’s tough, when you lose sometimes it feels like it rips away a part of you, but I’m not going to change anything, I’m still ambitious and I’m still going to walk with my head held high like a champion.”
Questions have also been asked about Joshua’s coaching team with trainer Rob McCracken offering simplistic advice in the corner as his man was heading for defeat.
But Joshua added: “Losing isn’t in anyone’s nature and I took my first loss. It hasn’t really changed me or my work ethic, the people I’m loyal to, my trainer, my amateur coach, I still want to work with these guys. They’ve done a great job for me not just inside the ring but mainly outside; they’ve developed me as a human and as a person. These guys have been with me for years, I’m not going to change my ways, I’m the same old Anthony Joshua. I have the same motivation to better myself through boxing.”
Joshua has already triggered the release clause in his contract and will face Ruiz again this winter, likely at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. And he said: “Congratulations to Andy Ruiz, he has six months to be champion because the belts go in the air and he’s going to have to defend against myself. I wouldn’t mind if it was in New York again, I wouldn’t mind if it’s in England. New York opened their arms for me and my team and it was phenomenal. I have to correct what went wrong and get the job done in the rematch.”
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