British boxer Anthony Joshua is set to face Andy Ruiz Jr. in a rematch after their bout in June ended in what was one of the biggest shocks in boxing history. Set to take place on December 7th in Saudi Arabia, the event is the topic of all conversations in the boxing industry right now. With Anthony Joshua odds looking favourable, many fans will be hoping for a quick return to form after such a harrowing defeat.
This upcoming fight comes at a pivotal moment in Joshua’s career. With a loss sparking rumours of retirement, and a win having the potential to launch him into legendary status, everything the boxer has achieved up until now, rests on this moment. Let’s take a look at AJ’s career so far and how he ended up in such an ‘all or nothing’ situation.
AJ’s professional career began six years ago in 2013, following his success at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in which he won a gold medal. His first professional fight was against Emanuele Leo, who at the time was undefeated. The new kid on the block managed a TKO at 2:47 in the first round of the bout, instantly putting him on the map.
Boxer after boxer, Joshua went on with victory after victory. He held an incredible 21 KOs from 22 fights, Joshua’s professional record was not only impressive, but it was also intimidating to any potential opponent.
His most recent years have been filled with jaw-dropping moments, including sending Dillian Whyte to the canvas after a very heated fight; or defying all odds to defeat Vladimir Klitschko in the 10th round after an intense back and forth. One of the most memorable moments of Joshua’s career so far, sadly came when he received his first defeat.
Rewind to five months ago and Joshua’s pristine record was muddied by the glove of American Ruiz. Joshua was on his way to the big time, set to face legends like Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, but it all came crashing down when ’The Destroyer’ defeated him and walked away with the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles.
The more than plump Ruiz managed to defy all odds and send the sculpted Joshua into a state of disarray. AJ met the canvas four times before the referee called it a day, an outcome that shocked the boxing industry and will be remembered as one of the biggest upsets in history.
Joshua has since spoken out about his loss, calling it ‘a blip’. Admitting that he was somewhat relaxed ahead of the fight but is not letting one defeat stand in his way: “I need to start taking this approach to my fights where I’m a bit more lively.
“I know I’m capable of it. There is too much at stake.
“If I go in there where I’m switched on, a time like the Ruiz fight where I am so relaxed, that might be the difference.”
In the immediate future, we know that Joshua and Ruiz are set for a rematch, but what does the outcome of this fight mean for the boxer’s career? Fury has warned Joshua that they will never meet in the ring if the Brit is to lose once more to the American. Wilder hasn’t had much to say on the two coming face-to-face but has admitted that he’ll be backing Ruiz in the fight.The occasion has been so monumental, that retirement rumours have stirred, suggesting that if Joshua loses the bout, his career is over. Of course, he was quick to put these rumours to rest, but it leaves the question – where does Joshua’s career go after a second defeat? Let’s hope that’s a question that doesn’t need answering.