EXCLUSIVE: AJ must beat Ruiz Jr. next or risk being frozen out – Bellew
Tony Bellew was a stunned spectator when he observed Anthony Joshua lose his heavyweight titles inside a shocked Madison Square Garden to Andy Ruiz Jr.
The seismic shock caused ripples in the heavyweight division. An impact still being felt today.
With negotiations currently ongoing for the highly anticipated rematch, Bellew is eager to see how the return plays out.
Speaking exclusively to World Boxing News, the former heavyweight is excited at the prospect of another heavyweight classic between Ruiz and Joshua.
“It’s the standout fight for the rest of the year as far as I’m concerned,” enthused Bellew to WBN.
“You look at the first fight and how much drama was involved and the size of the upset. You have to wonder what is going to happen next.
“Not many people gave Andy Ruiz Jr a chance in the first fight. It’ll be different this time around. People now know that he’s a serious fighter and someone who has to be respected.
“Far too much was made of his shape and background last time out. So when he actually let his hands go and showed people what he was about, nobody could believe it.
“He proved to everyone just how good he is. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this winter when they’re likely to meet.”
Evaluating the situation in recent weeks, discussions between all concerned camps have centred on various factors such as dates and location.
Bellew believes it’s just a case of maximising the second meeting between the fighters. Also ensuring that it’s a commercial success in the same manner that their inaugural meeting was.
With some in the sport screaming caution at Joshua due to the manner in which he lost and hinting at a warm-up fight, Bellew is adamant that he must face Ruiz next.
“He’s got no choice about where he goes next. We saw how hard he fought to get to the top of the heavyweight division. He did so by beating good men. He doesn’t start again just because he’s lost.
“Anthony is a world-class fighter with a world-class team. What he has to do next is go away and learn from his mistakes. He needs those titles back.
“If Ruiz goes into a fight with Deontay Wilder and someone has all four belts, Joshua is in a position where he could potentially be frozen out of the title picture and he won’t want that,” he concluded.
Chris Walker is Lead Writer for World Boxing News. Follow Chris on Twitter @OfficialWalks