Anthony Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn gave their immediate and raw reactions to a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr.
In front of a sold out crowd of 20,201 at Madison Square Garden and live on DAZN, Ruiz, Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) made boxing history by defeating heavyweight king Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) in his United States debut.
Ruiz, Jr. captured Joshua’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO World Heavyweight Championship titles in a thrilling upset that ended by technical knockout in the seventh round.
On the fight: “Heavyweight boxing baby, thank you to the people who came out this evening. That’s number one. Thank you to DAZN, Sky Sports, Andy Ruiz.
“Heavyweight boxing is on fire. I just have to turn it around a few notches and bring it back my way. I don’t want people to drown in their sorrows. This will show I have the power and the strength.”
On the difference between tonight and being down against Wladimir Klitschko: “It’s all the same. It just wasn’t my night. But listen, it is good for the TV. Good for DAZN and the people watching.”
On the stoppage: “I want to fight. I don’t do his job. I am never one of those fighters to disrespect a referee like he should have done this, or he should have done that.
“He called it off when he thought I couldn’t fight. It’s a shame. But I don’t want anyone to drown in their sorrows. It’s the long game, not the short game.”
On the immediate rematch: “100%. 100%.”
On the huge upset: “AJ got sloppy. It was a beautiful combination in the third round. He was in total control of the fight but he got sloppy and never recovered.
“Listen, tonight was his night but AJ will come back 100% and we will make the rematch in the U.K. in November or December.
“But this night now belongs to Andy Ruiz, he made history in the heavyweight division tonight. IT will go down in history as a very big one.
“AJ has the heart of a lion and will come back stronger. Now at least we know the opponent for the end of the year in the U.K.
“Absolutely we will enact the immediate rematch. He will be devastated when it sinks in. It makes the fall fight a must win.”
Those comments reveal a complete determination to put Joshua back on top. But also that any notion of Ruiz claiming victory were never addressed.
Was Joshua overconfident? Maybe so, but one thing is for sure, both Joshua and Hearn are hell-bent on overturning the unexpected reverse.