Anthony Joshua is still reeling from one of the greatest upsets in recent boxing history.
The 29-year-old entered his contest with Andy Ruiz Jr. three weeks ago at Madison Square Garden as a clear favourite, with the match-up seen as an opportunity for the Brit to re-affirm his world championship credentials as negotiations continued with both Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
However, a devastating defeat ensued, and was overshadowed by reports that Joshua had suffered a severe panic attack moments before stepping into the ring.
The result saw the Brit lose all three of his world titles, and left promoter Eddie Hearn with the task of negotiating a rematch with the Ruiz camp, rather than a match-up with Wilder for all four belts, as would have been expected.
Fury has led critics that have questioned Joshua’s status as one of the true greats of the sport. The Gypsy King claimed that Joshua’s status as an elite boxer was over and that the Olympic gold medalist was ‘finished’.
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While many saw the defeat in New York as one of the greatest upsets in boxing history, Manny Pacquiao’s former trainer Freddie Roach argued that the defeat may have been foreseeable.
Roach explained that Joshua’s added muscle since his bout with Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017 has left the 29-year-old fatigued in recent fights.
"Ever since he fought Klitschko he’s been going downhill a little bit," Roach started.
"A lot more muscle, he looks really good and so forth, I think he has trouble carrying that muscle and he’s been fatigued in his last couple fights.
"He’s been getting tired before the end, and I don’t think that muscles make fighters. Like ‘oh, he has big biceps so he must punch hard’ — gimme a break."
Roach also outlined his vision how Joshua could improve, arguing that a change of team and fighting style was necessary.
"I’d like to say he needs a new team and so forth, and I’d like to be that part of that team because I do like him, he’s a friend, yes, but I’m not trying to steal a fighter [laughs].
"But the thing is, I think he needs to go back to what he did when he won the Olympics, ‘cause that’s when he was a really, really good fighter, in my opinion."
As for discussions over a rematch, recent reports claim that Ruiz Jr. would prefer holding the bout in his native Mexico, or alternatively, in the USA again.
Meanwhile, Hearn has denied that Ruiz could be stripped of any of his world titles ahead of a rematch, and is optimistic that Joshua will be able to fight to re-claim all three.News Now - Sport News