The boxing world is still shaken from Anthony Joshua’s shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago.
AJ lost his WBO, IBF, IBO and WBA (super) heavyweight titles on the night, but he has already invoked his rematch clause that is set to take effect in November of this year.
Former super middleweight world champion George Groves stopped by talkSPORT today with Jim White and discussed how although AJ has had quite an easy route to the top, he always stepped up when it mattered.
“Anthony Joshua, he’s someone I’ve always had a lot of time for and a lot of respect for because he has a lot of opportunities that he hasn’t had to work that hard for, but he’s then always stepped up to the mark and delivered. He’s had the backing of Matchroom, who pretty much build their boxing around him as of late and they’ve dominated not just here in the UK, but in the States [too] with their DAZN deal, they’re doing fantastic. Sky Sports, they’ve got behind him. But, he’s always stepped up to the plate, he can’t let people make excuses for him. Talk about his lack of experience, his lack of amateur pedigree – he’s an Olympic gold medallist, do you know what I mean? He’s a unified world champion.”
As you can see in the video below, Groves goes on to talk about how AJ might be too afraid to make changes to his team in the wake of the defeat, even though there has been calls from Lennox Lewis and Frank Warren for the Watford-born star to ditch trainer Rob McCracken.
“I personally feel he’s got to make changes to his team. Whether he does that or not, I’m not sure. I’m not sure if he’s worried about the public backlash if he does that or if he just doesn’t have that in him. You know, I’ve been in that situation before where I knew I had to make changes internally with the team I was working with but I was too afraid of doing that because if it doesn’t come off, that’ll be another reason why you haven’t succeeded.”
On the rematch with Ruiz – which could still be held in the UK or US – Saint George feels AJ had to take it and many of the rumours of why Joshua underperformed in the original encounter could be plausible.
“He has to take the rematch with Ruiz. He’s not going to have the time to get his eye back in with a warmup fight or anything like that – he has the beating of Ruiz. He certainly does. He didn’t look right on fight night, he didn’t look right in the build up. The rumours out there that he got concussed in sparring or he had a panic attack in the changing room – I feel they are all viable reasons.”