Anthony Joshua: I was labelled 'crazy' for Andy Ruiz Jr rematch

Joshua regained his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles from Ruiz Jr in December, six months after losing belts

DIRIYAH, SAUDI ARABIA - DECEMBER 07: Anthony Joshua poses for a photo with the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Title belts after the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Title Fight between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua during the Matchroom Boxing 'Clash on the Dunes' show at the Diriyah Season on December 07, 2019 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Image: Anthony Joshua regained his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Andy Ruiz Jr

Anthony Joshua has recalled being labelled "crazy" for agreeing to a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr so soon after losing to the Mexican.

Joshua regained his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles from Ruiz Jr in December, six months after losing them, and says he decided not to listen to the advice of others that thought him "crazy" to get back into the ring for a rematch.

Joshua defeated Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia
Image: Joshua defeated Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December

"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.

Anthony Joshua
Image: Anthony Joshua says he was right to go with his gut feeling

"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."

Joshua also admits that although the initial defeat six months earlier had had a negative effect on him, it was an important factor on his return to being heavyweight champion of the world.

Also See:

Andy Ruiz Jr knocked down Anthony Joshua four times during their first bout in June
Image: Andy Ruiz Jr knocked down Anthony Joshua four times during their first bout in June

"It was a difficult time in my career," he said. "Last year was a real tough year.

"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."

Joshua has also revealed he is managing to stay in shape during the coronavirus lockdown as he prepares for the eventual defence of his titles against Kubrat Pulev, but is also using the break to spend time with his family.

"Even though there is a massive negative effect of what's going on, the positive you have to take from it is the quality time you're spending with your family.

"So aside from the day to day hustle and bustle and training, I have prioritised the attention that I'm spending with my family, so that's been a priority of mine."

Around Sky