Anthony Joshua's shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr was down to nerves, says Dave Coldwell

"I didn't think he was ill or this has gone off, all these theories that everybody is coming out with. I didn't think nothing like that, I just thought he's nervous, he's really on edge."

preview image 0:54
Dave Coldwell believes Anthony Joshua's defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr stemmed from pre-fight nerves.

Anthony Joshua 'was not right' before his title defence against Andy Ruiz Jr but his shock defeat was just down to nerves, believes leading trainer Dave Coldwell.

Joshua's seven-round stoppage by Ruiz Jr has sparked many conspiracy theories concerning whether the Briton was 100% ahead of his American debut.

Anthony Joshua cleared up fans' worries following his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr and vowed to bounce back ahead of their rematch at the end of the year.

The former three-belt champion has dispelled "accusations and worries" over his mental state and will get his chance to retain his titles after triggering a rematch clause for a return later this year.

Coldwell, who led Tony Bellew to cruiserweight title glory, says that Joshua 'was not right' but feels the occasion of headlining at New York's iconic Madison Square Garden may have got the better of him.

Anthony Joshua v  Andy Ruiz,  World Heavyweight Title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York..1st June 2019.Picture By Mark Robinson..Anthony Joshua is Put down in the 3rd round
Image: Anthony Joshua was floored four times as his run of 22 straight wins, 21 by knockout, was brought to a shuddering halt by late replacement Andy Ruiz Jr

"I just thought he looked nervous," Coldwell told Sky Sports. "I thought he looked nervous at Wembley when he fought Klitschko and came out the first couple of rounds quite cagey. You could see the occasion, the nerves kind of got to him.

"He's only human. We have this thing about heavyweight champions, 6ft 6 body sculpted, but bottom line is he's human, he has emotions.

Anthony Joshua makes his way to the ring at the MSG
Image: Anthony Joshua appears anxious as he makes his way to the ring at the MSG

"To me, when he gets in the ring, that's where he's different. That's where he doesn't look like a confident man at all. That's not an aggressive look and it's not a chilled look. It's not a happy look.

Also See:

"There are different looks that fighters have, some go in there smiling, some are quite relaxed, but that's not a relaxed look.

"When he's leaning up against the ropes and doesn't move, when someone is massaging his neck, I thought then 'what's that about? That's strange, a little bit different'.

"It just doesn't look like the heavyweight champion of the world. It doesn't look like a confident guy. It looks like a fighter that's demons in his head.

 Andy Ruiz Jr beats Anthony Joshua 1:13
Watch highlights as Anthony Joshua is stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr at New York's MSG

"Usually when a fighter is called out as heavyweight champion of the world - heavyweight, middleweight, flyweight - it doesn't matter they're proud.

"They fill their lungs, they put their hands up, they look like 'yeah, I am the man' but it was almost like 'let's get this over and done with'.

"There's something wrong with him. He's not right… that's not the AJ we're accustomed to seeing.

"If I saw one of my fighters in a six-rounder with that demeanour, I would be worried. I didn't think he was ill or this has gone off, all these theories that everybody is coming out with. I just thought he's nervous, he's really on edge.

"He has got a lot of pressure on his shoulders, he's basically been carrying the sport. It is what it is, we'll never know because only he knows, perhaps even his team might not know.

"I've had it where a fighter has not told what issues are going on in his head, so even his team might not know."

Around Sky