Anthony Joshua has admitted he was well and truly battered by Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York but still believes he’s this generation’s best heavyweight.
The British four-belt world title-holder, who avenged his loss to Ruiz in December, was roundly criticized for his performance in the first fight.
Heading to the United States for the first time as a professional, Joshua was expected to impress. Recently signed up by DAZN for a multi-million dollar fee, AJ was backed to coast through the Mexican.
As it turns out, Ruiz dropped Joshua four times on the way to a seventh-round stoppage. The lockout forced Joshua to completely change his whole style for the return.
Despite the humbling reverse, Joshua is adamant he’s still on course to go down in history as one of the greatest of these times.
“I got beat. I got beaten to a pulp. But I had to pull myself back together,” Joshua told British GQ. “Now they’re gonna see the rebirth of me.
“Everyone writes me off in this division. But I believe I will go down as this generation’s great. That’s what I’m destined to do.”
Ruiz has called on Joshua to agree on a trilogy clash in the near future. Although the Brit is tied up with at least four more fights.
“I got the first one, you got the second. Let‘s run it back a third time and see what’s up,” said Ruiz.
Kubrat Pulev is mandatory before Joshua hopes to land two fights with Tyson Fury. Oleksandr Usyk would then be next should Joshua keep his WBO version.
Recently joining forces with Canelo trainer Eddy Reynoso, Ruiz needs a couple of wins to get his confidence back before facing Joshua, anyway.
Should he win a warm-up and then potentially defeat an opponent in the ilk of a Luis Ortiz, fans could well see the third fight at some point in 2022.
Plenty can happen from now until then.
Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay