World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has revealed how his uncle may have inadvertently predicted his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Discussing the New York defeat and subsequent redemption, Joshua made the startling revelation to a group of fans.
Asked if he took Ruiz too lightly first time around, Joshua said his old rival was named as a dangerman back in 2013.
“My uncle wrote out a list of heavyweights when I turned pro (in October 2013) and Andy Ruiz got listed as the ‘Upset King’,” Joshua, who was appearing at a Club Wembley members event in London, stated. “We thought he was underrated and undervalued but had a lot of skills and could cause an upset.”
Joshua eventually met the prophesied opponent inside the ring at Madison Square Garden six years later. What transpired shocked all who witnessed it.
Dropped four times, Joshua was guilty of rushing into a dangerman and paid the ultimate price.
Reflecting on what went down, Joshua was philosophical in his response.
“I could tell you a million things but I lost. That is the situation. What I had to do was go away. I had to look at what I needed to change,” he said.
“If you take all the praise you can’t expect everyone to be quiet when you don’t perform. Criticism gives you a chance to perfect yourself. If everyone is telling you you’re great and two people tell you need to improve – I would rather listen to those two people.
“The critics will always pick out the minor flaws and the finer details, which is good because you need those people to perfect yourself so I always view criticism positively.
“The thing that was baffling me was the boxing legends and the boxing icons that were saying I should retire if I lose again. Saying, “Joshua hasn’t got the skills to beat Ruiz” and “his manager is crazy for putting him in a rematch straight away.
“You learn to make the best of a bad situation and you build resilience. Even if I’d failed again in the rematch I’d have understood that that’s how life goes.
“At some point along the line, you get to reap the rewards,” the two-time title-holder added.
Concluding by addressing the chances of fighting Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury,” Joshua outlined his preference on when they meet.
“It will be better for me to fight fury or Wilder now before they took a loss. In a weird way, losing does something to you.
“The experience of going through it can bring out the best in you. A fight with the winner will happen for sure.”