Nigerian-born heavyweight boxer, Anthony Olaseni Oluwafemi Joshua is smiling to the bank with a hefty pay of £20m, much more than £5m that his conqueror, Andy Ruiz Jnr got, but the fight has now been tainted by speculation that the former champion was not fit enough for the bout.
Ruiz produced one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history on the night in New York City this past Saturday, but his pay cheque was well below Joshua’s, while the British pugilist is now under the clouds over speculation that he was both mentally and physically not ready to fight.
Ruiz is understood to have made only around £5m from the fight at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden, The SUN has reported, even after the Mexican stunned ‘AJ’ to take the WBA, IBF and WBO belts and shake up world heavyweight boxing’s established order in dramatic style.
Compared to the whopping £20m Joshua is thought to have made and the gulf in class is adjudged between the two boxers, in a fight that was supposed to be routine for ‘a rock-like champ’ against a ‘fatso.’
The man who snatched Joshua’s three belts in dramatic fashion was not even meant to be there against him on Saturday night in the first place, as Ruiz only took the fight within just five weeks’ notice after the Brits’ original opponent, Jarrell Miller failed three drugs tests in the build-up.
Nonetheless, Ruiz still got the largest purse of his career, and can expect to earn a lot more in a rematch later this year, to probably double his ex-previous biggest pay of £770,000 for his loss to Joseph Parker in 2017.
All this comes at a point speculation has emerged that Joshua may have been knock flat earlier in sparring before his stunning downfall at the hands of Ruiz on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old ‘AJ’ was decked four times, causing the referee to call a halt to the contest and crown a new world heavyweight king at Madison Square Garden in The Big Apple.
Joshua was knocked out in round seven, but many observers wondered why he looked far from his best, even before he was hit with a big left hook in round three, which began the sequence to his stoppage loss.
Boxing expert, Gareth Davies told talkSPORT: “There are stories that, potentially and possibly, Anthony Joshua had been sparring and had been hurt in sparring leading up to the fight.
“He had a problem with his eye coming into the fight, he had marks on his nose, the cut on his nose, swelling on one part of his face as well.
“And there is some – and these are just rumours at the moment – he might have been knocked out in sparring heading into the fight. Maybe he was still suffering the effects from that.”
Another Brit, former WBC champion, Frank Bruno stated on Twitter that Joshua said “Why am I feeling like this?” during one of the rounds, suggesting that there was an unusual issue behind his loss.
However, the man himself was offering no excuses after the loss and instead chose to give Ruiz all of the credit.
“I got beaten by a good fighter. It will be interesting to see how far he goes, but this is all part of the journey. He’s a champion for now, I shall return,” Joshua ended curtly.
Meanwhile, Joshua said he will stick with his under-fire trainer Rob McCracken for his forthcoming rematch against Andy Ruiz Jnr of Mexico in November or December.
Joshua will get the chance to regain his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight world titles in a rematch with Ruiz at a venue yet to be announced, and the British citizen says he is sticking with McCracken for the crucial fight, despite critical comments trailing how the trainer handled tactics in last Saturday’s shock loss to ‘The Destroyer.’
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn announced the contract rematch clause was triggered on Tuesday and a second fight will take place in November or December, though a venue is still to be confirmed.
‘AJ’ suffered a shock first defeat of his career when he was stopped by Ruiz in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York at the weekend, when he got on the receiving end of one of the biggest shocks in the history of heavyweight boxing on his United States debut.
He was knocked down twice in the third round and twice more in the seventh, forcing referee Mike Griffin to stop the contest but, ahead of the rematch, ‘AJ’ says he will retain McCracken despite criticism of his role in the 29-year-old pugilist’s shock loss to Ruiz.
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was among those to suggest Joshua should look for a new trainer, but he insists he will stick with McCracken.
Joshua said: “I took my first loss. How to explain that feeling? It has happened to me before but I feel like those times I lost years back have made me a stronger person.
“It hasn’t really changed me, my work ethic, my mindset, what I stand for, the people I’m still loyal to – my trainer Rob McCracken, (and) my amateur coach at Finchley ABC.
“I’m still going to work with these guys, they’ll teach me everything I need to know.
“They’ve done a great job for me not only inside the boxing ring but mainly as a human.
“They’ve really developed me as a person which is really important. These guys have been with me for years.”