Anthony Joshua will fight back after Andy Ruiz Jr rocked the boxing world, says Adam Smith
By Adam Smith
Last Updated: 04/06/19 3:07pm
Anthony Joshua will fight back after Andy Ruiz Jr rocked the boxing world in New York at the weekend, says head of Sky Sports Boxing Adam Smith.
It was quite simply one of the most sensational, stunning and shocking nights in Sky Sports' long, rich boxing history.
AJ's dream American debut unravelled into a nightmare at the Garden in front of our eyes in such a dramatic and confusing fashion. Andy Ruiz Jr, the enormous underdog with the almost as enormous body stands as the new world heavyweight champion. The dust is settling and we are still trying to fathom quite what happened.
Shortly after I joined Sky in August 1994, the boxing world witnessed Lennox Lewis being knocked out by rank outsider Oliver McCall, but this was arguably the biggest upset since then. Certainly on Sky Sports, alongside maybe Danny Williams turning over a faded Mike Tyson.
You just never ever know in our sport. It's what makes it compelling, gripping and wildly unpredictable. Andy Ruiz Jr. You had probably never heard much of him. But he really did win. Incredible. Lovely, real humble fella and he also wants to commentate alongside us in the future. I might just ask him over sooner rather than later!
Incredibly Andy came up to me on Monday night at the first media event and said: "Where's AJ? I want to give him a high five, I love AJ." I replied: "You have a fight to win!"
He said: "I'm going to shock you all. I'm going to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion." He then roared out laughing. He seemed like the winner of a competition, just happy to be there.
By Thursday he was holding all the belts in a press conference and people said it was a farce. When he left New York in a mini bus on Sunday morning with the family and few friends who were the only people that thought he'd triumph, he waved them out of the window as if the prized possession of some midnight heist.
Andy has fooled us all. The nice guy with the big belly produced one of those old-fashioned fighting performances where he just pressed forwards, cleverly worked the head and body and most of all would not be denied cashing in the golden ticket that Jarrell Miller had thrown away.
The actual fight night tickets didn't even have his name on. Joshua-Miller they read. MSG hadn't even bothered to change them. You couldn't make it up.
Andy also has a son nicknamed AJ. Maybe it was written in the boxing stars. He told us at the post-fight press conference he was now going off to get a new body - like a Mexican AJ. What a story. Quite extraordinary.
What of Anthony Joshua? It was a bizarre display from the previously unbeaten king. When he floored Ruiz Jr, it looked like another early knockout night was on, but he chose to engage and maybe never really recovered from that first knockdown in the third round.
One of the most thrilling three minutes we have ever seen at ringside. He looked increasingly vulnerable and the odd ending suggested he knew - mentally and physically - it just wasn't his night.
Smiling shortly afterwards he of course remained extremely respectful to Ruiz Jr in the ruins of this unbelievable first professional defeat. Tyson Fury was equally classy with his tweet of support; Deontay Wilder - ever the pantomime villain - much less so.
Joshua is hugely grateful of our support and while we remain fiercely neutral and independent on the night, he is still our friend, our ambassador. And he will naturally fight back.
A loss isn't the end of the world. He is still a superb icon to young people. Like AJ, we of course rest, we recover - and we go again.