Ruiz defeat made me a smarter fighter, says Joshua

FILE PHOTO: Boxing – Andy Ruiz Jr & Anthony Joshua Press Conference – Hilton London Syon Park, London, Britain – September 6, 2019 Anthony Joshua and trainer Rob McCracken during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) – Briton Anthony Joshua has said his first career defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. was down to a lack of experience and he has become a “smarter” fighter ahead of December’s rematch.

Mexican-American Ruiz produced one of boxing’s biggest upsets when he dethroned the previously undefeated world heavyweight champion with a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June.

“It wasn’t burnout. The issues I faced in the last camp, it’s just down to lack of experience,” he told BBC. “Even though it was at a high level, we were still finding experience.

“Andy Ruiz is good but I don’t think he should beat me twice. I used to hear guys say you have to take a loss and I would think ‘why?’”

“Now I can understand it and know what it takes. I have more understanding now and my ears are open to new information so that’s making me smarter as a fighter. Anyone can be hungrier, I am smarter.”

The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title rematch — dubbed the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ — will take place in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7 after former Olympic champion Joshua triggered a rematch clause.

“The blessing is I have a second chance and here we are,” the 30-year-old added.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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