As the boxing world waits final confirmation on the long-anticipated showdown between Joshua and Tyson Fury later this year, one of the former's opponents has been speaking of his 'love' for Joshua, admitting 'he wanted to crawl under his bed' after his defeat in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking in the Daily Mail, the Mexican-American fighter explained what had been the low point in his career after being forced to hand back the belts, but also of Joshua's words at his lowest ebb.
"It was the lowest point of my life.
I just wanted to crawl under my bed and just hide and eat Cheerios. Again, though, Instagram proved a source of hope. Only this time it was AJ.
As Joshua was set to make his US debut against Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden in June 2019, the American tested positive for a banned substance once again, leaving a void to be filled at the Mecca of Boxing.
Up stepped Ruiz Jr, who had pleaded with promoter Eddie Hearn to give him his shot. The bout was set for MSG, with few giving the 'Destroyer' a chance of even testing the unbeaten champion.
Going on to pull off one of the biggest shocks in boxing history, Ruiz Jr stopped Joshua via seventh-round TKO, becoming the first boxer of Mexican heritage to win the heavyweight title.
Revelling in his his overnight fame, the celebrity lifestyle then caught up with him in the rematch, as Ruiz was widely criticised for his lack of preparation for the fight, weighing in at 283lbs.
Still only 31, Ruiz Jr is now planning his comeback against Chris Arreola on May 1, but has never forgotten Joshua's kind words so soon after their fight in the desert.
There were a few messages. We were just saying that I’d bounce back, that I’m a great fighter.
"I have nothing but love for him. I don’t have no grudges."News Now - Sport News