Unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr 33-1 (22) has laughed off claims from Anthony Joshua 22-1 (21) that he lost their first fight due to a “lucky punch – a punch sent by the gods”.
Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO championships to Ruiz Jr in an upset at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June, going down four times en route to a seventh-round stoppage loss.
But Ruiz Jr had to work hard for the victory, particularly in the early rounds when he had to pick himself up off the canvas in the third.
The Mexican-American champion claims he was never hurt.
“That was a lucky shot for him, too,” Ruiz Jr said to Sky Sports. “I got lazy. It was a punch in the blink of an eye. I thought: ‘what just happened?’
“I wasn’t that hurt because I wasn’t wobbling. I still had the will and the fire inside of me. I wanted to keep fighting and win the fight.”
Joshua has commented on the knockdown: “Ruiz Jr got hit by a flash knockdown – he was still raw, he wasn’t well-done, he wasn’t cooked yet. I should have left him a little bit longer.”
Ruiz Jr says the way he came back from the knockdown – sending Joshua to the canvas later in the same frame – broke the Brit psychologically.
“Once he dropped me, then got me with a really good right hand, I could eat his punches. Mentally he thought: ‘this guy isn’t going down, what is happening?’,” Ruiz Jr said.
“I had to do everything possible to change the fight, and that’s what I did with the left hook.
“The left hook was a really great shot in the temple. The other times I hit him in the head, he loosened up and got wobbly. I was the better fighter that day because I pressured him, threw more punches and the body shots put him down.”
Joshua has criticised Ruiz Jr for taking seven rounds to stop him.
“I’m just shocked it took Ruiz Jr another four rounds to get me out,” Joshua said. “Let me concuss Ruiz Jr – he won’t get back up.”
Ruiz Jr said: “If it was another fighter in there, Joshua would have beat him. If it was Jarrell Miller, he would have beaten him.
“I was hungry, that’s the difference between me and other fighters. I’ve been doing it since I was six years old, it’s all I know.”
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