Dubai: What in the world is wrong with Anthony Joshua?
In what is shocking and unbecoming of an Olympic champion, Joshua recently confessed to losing some of his “passion” for a sport that has enabled him to reach his ultimate career heights.
As he prepares for his crucial December 7 rematch against Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr the in the historic town of Diriyah in Saudi Arabia, the British champion admitted that he needs to “get the passion back”.
Joshua suffered a shock seventh-round knockout to Ruiz at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, his first career defeat in 23 fights.
That loss cost him the WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO world titles, which he had systematically and diligently collected during a dominant span between 2016-2019.
Now, as he attempts to rebuild his reputation as a champion and wrest the belts back from Ruiz, the Briton has cut a sorry figure with the comments he has made, particularly in his vitriol towards former world heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis.
Despite Lewis’ long-standing support, Joshua called him a “clown” who he does no respect.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has quickly jumped in to defend his fighter’s negativity towards boxing by telling him to “snap out of it”.
The Matchroom boss has cautioned Joshua and urged him to focus on the upcoming fight against Ruiz and earn back his reputation of a prize fighter.
Speaking to The Independent, Hearn said: “I think he was disillusioned with the sport because he wanted to fight Deontay Wilder (undefeated WBC heavyweight champion since 2015).
“He couldn’t get that fight and as he said in the interview, he didn’t really want to fight Andy Ruiz. But tough, you fought him and you fought a real hungry guy.”
Joshua and Ruiz Jr will meet face-to-face for the first time on Wednesday, September 4, as part of an extensive road show to promote their Saudi rematch which is promoted as the ‘Clash on the Dunes’.
The three-city tour kicks off in Diriyah before moving to New York the next day and culminating in London on September 6.
“I think the great thing about this promotion is that now, for the first time next week, he looks a man in the eyes who is the only man to beat him as a professional,” said Hearn.