Veteran promoter Bob Arum believes we may never see the same Anthony Joshua again after his heavyweight world title loss to Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1.
“It’s not something I would have predicted,” said Arum in an interview with the Telegraph. “Andy is a pretty good fighter. He has fast hands and quick feet. But he has absolutely no punch.
“He was in with a lot of guys who couldn’t spell fight, and he beat them, but he couldn’t knock them out. The fact he knocked out a fighter like Joshua, who I had seen on television and in person against Joseph Parker, it shocked me.
“Andy Ruiz is a lovely guy, but he’s no Wladimir Klitschko. If Joshua was able to survive Klitschko, who can punch, and knock him out, how the hell does Ruiz beat him? Unless it wasn’t Joshua in the ring. Now that’s something that can happen. Maybe he didn’t train hard enough. Maybe he suffered an injury. When something like this happens, there may never be that Joshua again.”
Arum said if he was promoting Joshua, he would avoid an immediate rematch with Ruiz Jr in favour of rebuilding his confidence and working on fixing his flaws.
“It’s the dumbest thing from the standpoint of a young fighter, who Joshua is, who you want to bring back and recover. The idea you’d put him back in with Ruiz is insane. Give him some fights,” Arum said.
“Forget about the titles. The titles will always be there. Joshua is a great personality. He shouldn’t go back with Andy Ruiz. Any real boxing guy would tell you that. Unfortunately, his promoter is not a boxing guy…
“You cannot rush it, you shouldn’t. You need to build his confidence up, build his credibility with other fighters, take your time – the title will always be there. To chase these belts, you’ve got to be out of your mind. That is a real disservice to Joshua.
“If they put him in with Ruiz, it’s silly. If it was a 12-round fight and Ruiz had won on points, that would be different. But he lost in a devastating way to Ruiz. He got beat and knocked out. It wasn’t a lucky punch. He got knocked down four times. Don’t put him in with the same guy until you’ve rebuilt him and rebuilt his confidence.”