Promoter Eddie Hearn believes a lack of focus on Andy Ruiz Jr. and questions about an undisputed unification with Deontay Wilder ultimately cost Anthony Joshua his world titles.
Heading into a June 1st bout with Ruiz, a fight Joshua didn’t plan on having in the first place, Joshua was inundated with talk of a battle with his American nemesis.
The previous twelve months had seen serious negotiations fall apart when the pair failed to agree on a deal for a UK or US venue.
As fans craved Joshua v Wilder, Hearn says his star man may have taken his eye off the ball and underestimated the challenge of Ruiz.
We all know what happened when Joshua and Ruiz met. A rematch is set to take place on December 7th in Saudi Arabia.
This week, Wilder has spoken out about the possibility of putting off a return of his own with Tyson Fury. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ is very interested in a collision with stablemate Ruiz.
Firstly, Ruiz must beat Joshua again to give Wilder a massive chance to become a five-belt champion and rule all.
Addressing Wilder’s recent interview, Hearn took the opportunity to take the American’s words in the context of reigniting a match-up with AJ.
WBN understands Wilder is far more eager to meet Ruiz, than enter into negotiations with Joshua after last summer’s debacle.
Speaking about the chances of Joshua v Wilder if the Briton can gain revenge, Hearn says tunnel vision is needed in order to compete with Ruiz this time.
“Let me tell you about Deontay Wilder, and actually right now there’s no point us talking about Deontay Wilder, because the focus is Andy Ruiz,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“Right now the position that we had, was the position in my opinion of dominance in the division, no longer exists. So we can’t be calling out Wilder and this or that.
“The focus is Ruiz. But isn’t it interesting that when on fight week Joshua-Ruiz, at the end of May, Deontay Wilder announced that he was fighting Luis Ortiz on Joshua fight week.
“We are now at the beginning of September, there is no fight. There is no venue, there is no date. He hasn’t talked about Anthony Joshua probably since that moment. Joshua-Ruiz II media week what happens?
“Deontay Wilder pops up and says ‘Oh, I want to fight Anthony Joshua and unify instead of Tyson Fury.’ (Wilder was actually talking more about fighting stablemate Ruiz if he wins again) Why didn’t you want to do it when Joshua had the belts?
“For the last nearly two years, every question going into an AJ fight was ‘when are you going to fight Wilder? Oh Ruiz, don’t worry about Ruiz, when’s the Wilder fight?’ He fell into that trap before (when losing his belts to Ruiz).
“We’re not going to fall into that trap again. Forget Deontay Wilder, let him go and box Tyson Fury. The biggest fight in the heavyweight division is Joshua-Ruiz, that’s the focus.”