Promoter Frank Warren has questioned the sturdiness of Anthony Joshua’s chin ahead of his highly anticipated rematch with conqueror Andy Ruiz Jr this weekend.
Joshua 22-1 (21) was decked four times by Ruiz Jr 33-1 (22) before being stopped in the seventh-round of their first matchup in New York back in June, a result that cost him his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.
Warren, who promotes Joshua’s rival Tyson Fury, labelled the 30-year-old Brit’s whisker “suspect”.
“I think his last few fights have showed that his chin is a bit suspect, no doubt about that. Certainly the last fight proved it and that is something that’s always going to be there,” Warren told Sportsmail.
“The first [fight], there were all the stories going around that Joshua was knocked out before the fight and I tend to believe them. I think that was the case, Ruiz took it on five weeks’ notice and he took Joshua’s best shot and Joshua couldn’t cope with him.
“Obviously, he has had longer now, I’m not saying it will make a lot of difference to him physically but mentally he will be in a better place but I look at it and think what is AJ going to do? Is he going to box?
“I don’t think he’s going to outbox him because Ruiz has got fast hands and I think he will catch him again and knock him out again.”
Warren added that a second loss to Ruiz Jr would erode Joshua’s fanbase and negatively impact both his early capacity and his ability to fill stadiums for his fights.
“I think Joshua will still be a bit of an attraction if he loses again, and if there was a big fight for him I think some people would still watch him,” he said.
“But that air of invincibility he had would have gone. And you won’t be seeing him fighting in front of 80,000 people, 70,000 people again I don’t think.”
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