Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua says he was called “crazy” for seeking an immediate rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr following his disastrous American debut.
Joshua suffered a shock defeat to the Mexican-American at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June, going down four times en route to a seventh-round stoppage.
The 30-year-old Brit regained his WBA, IBF and WBO championships six months later with a dominant 12-round points win over Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.
“I felt, and I still stand by that today, that everyone had written me off. So I said ‘cool’. They’re telling me ‘man, Josh shouldn’t go in there for the rematch, he’s crazy’,” Joshua told JD Sports.
“I’m talking about some of my idols and stuff like that. So the best thing about Saudi Arabia was proving to myself that no matter what the idols tell me or the experts, no one can go against the gut feeling that I have.
“That’s why at the end of the fight there’s a clip where Eddie’s jumping, my manager Freddie’s jumping, and I’m kind of standing there.
“I remember when I said that when I win ‘everybody must bow to me’. So it was like my emperor moment. I said what I was going to do, so talk the talk, walk the walk. That was the best thing about Saudi.”
Following the loss Joshua said he felt disrespected by the media.
“It was a difficult time in my career. Last year was a real tough year,” he said.
“As a British heavyweight fighter we never get the respect from the world media, which is governed by America to a certain degree, because we’re British. Americans are going to take care of Americans. So when I lost… you take challenges, the goal is to win 100 per cent.”
Meanwhile, Joshua’s next opponent Kubrat Pulev has announced he will donate half of his purse to help the battle against coronavirus.
IBF mandatory challenger Pulev was set to face Joshua on June 20 but that date has now been postponed and is awaiting rescheduling.
“I will donate 50 per cent of the money I earn from the match with Joshua to the tireless heroes in the fight against the coronavirus,” Pulev told German daily Bild on Sunday.
“I will give doctors, nurses and hospitals the necessary equipment to deal with this devilish virus.”
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