Anthony Joshua was the clear favourite going into his heavyweight clash with Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Although Joshua was making his US debut, he was the unified world heavyweight champion at the time and was undefeated heading into the fight.
Ruiz, meanwhile, had been defeated once before and was even ridiculed by fans and pundits alike for appearing unfit in press conferences and promotional videos before the fight on June 1. However, Ruiz stunned the boxing world when he won the match via a technical knockout in the seventh round, stripping Joshua of his WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF world heavyweight titles.
Glenn McCrory slammed the 29-year-old following the match, believing the defeat to be so embarrassing for the boxer that his reputation in the sport has been irreparably tarnished. Sitting down with talkSport, the former IBF cruiserweight world champion said,
"He’s bottom of the pile. He got beaten up by Andy Ruiz."
"I think he’s finished. It’s not just the defeat, anybody can get defeated, but the nature of it."
McCrory went on to praise Ruiz for managing to bring Joshua down against all odds,
"Andy Ruiz is not an elite athlete, he is not a heavyweight great. He will not go down in icons of legends at all but he is a tough kid and he seized his opportunity."
"I have to say well done Andy Ruiz. Anthony Joshua let himself and the nation down."
The Englishman's first professional defeat is made more surprising by the fact that he was not originally meant to face Ruiz at all. Joshua was initially scheduled to fight undefeated Jarrell Miller. However, the American had to be replaced on short notice after it was revealed that he had failed three drug tests.
A number of fighters put their names forward to replace Miller, and on May 1 – exactly one month before the fight – Ruiz was finally confirmed as Joshua's new opponent. The Mexican-American had very little time to prepare for the fight, making his victory against Joshua one of boxing's biggest upsets in recent times.
Although McCrory believes there is no coming back for him, Joshua will nevertheless have a chance to reclaim his titles should Ruiz agree to a rematch later this year.Published 06 Jun 2019, 00:23 IST