Anthony Joshua will come back bigger and stronger, even if he loses his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia later today, and the defeat in June may be the best thing for his career, claimed former heavyweight champion David Haye.
Anthony Joshua has always come back when he’s been knocked down, and losing his first professional fight might even help his boxing in the long-term, said David Haye. AJ takes on Andy Ruiz Jr for a second time on Saturday night, as he aims to reclaim all three of his world titles.
Ruiz Jr scored four knockdowns against AJ in June, before the fight was stopped in the seventh round.
The result shocked the world, and also meant that Joshua lost his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title belts.
While Ruiz may be Joshua’s kryptonite, Haye doesn’t doubt that the Brit will recover from his defeat – even if he loses the rematch in Saudi Arabia.
A single loss, or two, could make a heavyweight boxer even more hungry to get back on top, he said.
“I think Anthony Joshua is a tremendous athlete,” Haye told Express Sport.
“If he can’t beat Andy Ruiz Jr, it doesn’t mean he can’t beat Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.
“He might just not be able to fight little, short fat guys.
“Even if he doesn’t win, he’ll regroup and come back and he’ll be better.
“Sometimes it takes a loss or two here and there.”
In 2011, Joshua went to the World Amateur Boxing Championships and won a silver medal, after losing to Azerbaijani super heavyweight Magomedrasul Majidov.
A single year later, and Joshua came back from finishing second to win a gold medal at the London Olympic Games.
We also shouldn’t forget that in Joshua’s toughest fight to date, against Wladimir Klitschko, he was knocked down in the sixth round before coming back to produce the best performance of his career.
That type of grit and determination to rise from the canvas may be Joshua’s best attribute.
It may provide that added fire that helps him in his quest to become one of the best boxers in history.
“If it takes him a year or two longer, for him to be capable of beating someone like Andy Ruiz, then that’s what it’ll be and he’ll come again later,” said Haye.
“People keep saying it’s the end of him if he loses, and he’s got nowhere to go, but I believe that’s rubbish. He’ll be back.”
Joshua will aim to right the wrongs of his fight at Madison Square Garden when he comes face-to-face with Ruiz once again on Saturday.
The former WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion weighed in at his lightest since 2014, at 16st 13lb on Friday, ahead of the fight.
Meanwhile, Ruiz was more than three stone heavier than the Brit.
The Mexican was also a full 15lb heavier than six months ago, when he shocked the world by stopping Joshua.