While his fans worldwide rejoice over his thrashing of Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday to reclaim his three championship belts, Anthony Joshua has tweeted what his victory’s lesson is. “My hope is that someone sees my page and decides not to give up. Clean hearts win,” the British-Nigerian boxer tweeted on Sunday.
AJ, as he’s fondly called by his fans, is a global role-model and he has been living to that expectation. His clean lifestyle and impeccable behaviour in the ring, devoid of unruly conduct, have endeared him to millions around the world.
The heavyweight champion won back his WBA, IBF, and WBO belts with a one-sided unanimous defeat of Ruiz in Diriyah outside Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. The victory reinstates Joshua as a major player in boxing’s most glamorous division.
Joshua, meanwhile, said he had never doubted his ability to regain the titles despite his shocking defeat in New York when Ruiz knocked him down four times in one of heavyweight boxing’s greatest upsets.
“I’ve said it was like sitting an exam,” Joshua said. “I failed the exam the first time. This time though I studied, prepared and I just knew I was going to pass,” he said at the post-fight press conference.
He also defended himself against critics who say he should have knocked out his opponent since he dominated the fight from beginning to the end.
Joshua he had consciously avoided being sucked into a slugfest against the hard-hitting Ruiz.
“There were times when I looked in Andy’s eyes and I wanted to put my fist through his head,” Joshua said.
“But this is boxing. It’s dangerous. I had a game plan, I had a strategy and I wanted to follow it through.
“I can knock people out when I want to, and I can box when I want to. Tonight was just about winning.
“If I box for the crowd, or box for other people’s opinions, I might not have been victorious. So I’m just going to follow my instincts and box for myself.”
Meanwhile, Ruiz has said he is eager for a third bout with Joshua. Although Joshua indicated he would be happy to face the Mexican-American again, that fight is unlikely to happen anytime soon, analysts say.
In the short term, Joshua faces mandatory title defences against IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev and WBO contender Oleksandr Usyk.