Anthony Joshua ‘emotional’ after regaining heavyweight world titles

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‘A genius performance’ – Anthony Joshua on beating Andy Ruiz Jr

Anthony Joshua said he was “emotional” after beating Andy Ruiz Jr to become a two-time world heavyweight champion – and is ready to “rock and roll” with Oleksandr Usyk within six months.

The Briton, 30, out-pointed Ruiz in Saudi Arabia to avenge his shock defeat by the Mexican in June.

“I didn’t want to get too carried away but it is emotional,” he told the BBC.

“I’m a man that has made mistakes and when I was on a losing path in life, I matured and bounced back.”

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Joshua was transformed from their first meeting in New York and joined the likes of Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Floyd Patterson and Wladimir Klitschko as heavyweights who have reclaimed a world title.

In the aftermath, the WBO said he must face Ukraine’s Usyk within 180 days.

“Whatever I can do, I will,” Joshua told BBC Radio 5 Live. “If that is fighting the other top fighters in the division, then so be it.”

The Briton added: “Go to the BBC Radio 5 Live Twitter and leave your comment on who I should fight next because I’m up for anything.”

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‘The partying got the best of me’ – Andy Ruiz Jr on loss to Anthony Joshua

IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev is also in line to face Joshua and agreements will need to be reached as to whether he faces the Bulgarian or Usyk first.

Usyk – who stepped up to heavyweight having held all four world belts at cruiserweight – was ringside to watch at the Diriyah Arena.

When asked about the fact WBO tweeted of his mandatory status just moments after his win, Joshua said: “In 180 days? No problem, let’s rock and roll.”

Joshua would have to give up the IBF and WBO belts if he does not face his mandatory challengers and his promoter Eddie Hearn dismissed the chances of that happening.

If that is the case, any bout with WBC champion Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury appears some time away.

“I won’t continue to call them out,” Joshua said. “I am making my own lane and if they want to be a part of that, they will call. Ruiz did it and created a legacy.

“If those guys want to do it, they can create a legacy too. Look at all I have done, come on. When I call them out and do all of that, I lose focus.”

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No revelation but ‘simplicity is genius’


Anthony Joshua produced a tactical masterclass to beat Andy Ruiz Jr

Joshua entered his post-fight news conference to cries of “and the new” and “the champ is here”, just as Ruiz had on a shocking night six months earlier.

In the build-up to the fight, Joshua hinted he may open up about “obstacles” he had faced in the run-up to Ruiz’s victory over him – a first loss of his career.

But when asked if he had anything to reveal he said he was simply beaten by the “better man”.

In their repeat fixture on the outskirts of Riyadh, Joshua eased to a unanimous points win. He claimed back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles with a display of stylish boxing and stayed away from the close-range exchanges that saw floored him four times in the first meeting.

“I know I could have done more at times but sometimes simplicity is genius,” he added. “That was the motto. Keep it simple as it will lead to a genius performance.

“It was outclassing a champion and proving to myself every time I step in the ring, if I prepare myself, I don’t think anyone is going to beat me.

“The belts have spent some time with me, some time with Andy. I think the belts realise they want to be around my waist. I am champion until the next time I go out as champions don’t live forever. All of the challengers are hungry.”

In comparison to scenes of joy as Joshua spoke to media, Ruiz had earlier opened up on regrets over coming into the bout “overweight” as a result of “partying”.

He called for a trilogy fight and Joshua revealed he told his rival to “never give up” as they embraced in the ring afterwards.

And he also had a message for his fans. “Don’t ever doubt yourself,” he added. “Life is a rollercoaster. If you want to win at life every time, do not step in the ring. If you step in here, you are going to win and lose and that is life. As long as you are satisfied with yourself, no-one can tell you anything.”


Anthony Joshua takes a selfie with his fans after regaining his world titles