ANTHONY Joshua said he was disillusioned with boxing, ahead of a return fight against Andy Ruiz jnr in December, after losing his WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles in June.
AJ was stopped inside round seven at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“I think the rematch will be the same – as I think he’s found his maker,” Paul Butlin, who fought AJ in 2013, his second professional bout, told me.
AJ will face Ruiz jnr in a rematch on December 7, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua, 29, who suffered his first defeat against Ruiz jnr, said he has lost a bit of passion and been left feeling jaded so if you intend to place a bet it would certainly be worth knowing how to cash out with Coral.
“AJ might have underestimated Ruiz jnr the first time – but mentally he will be in a better place – and knows what to expect,” said Paul, speaking exclusively to the Leader.
AJ’s comments come after failing to secure fights with either of the world’s two other leading heavyweights, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
Promoter Eddie Hearn says AJ should stop feeling sorry for himself: “I think he was disillusioned – because he wanted to fight Deontay Wilder,” said Hearn.
“He couldn’t get that fight and, as he said, he didn’t really want to fight Andy Ruiz,” said Hearn.
Joshua faced criticism, following his defeat in New York, having self-confessed he lacked motivation going into the first fight with Ruiz jnr.
Joshua also labelled former unified World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis as a “clown” following criticism.
“Anthony Joshua wants to knock Ruiz clean out. He didn’t have that feeling last time – Josh wants to take his head off,” said Hearn.
However Paul, son of Los Montesinos, Alicante based parents Barry and Elaine Butlin, said: “Ruiz jnr will want to carry on with his reign.
“I could see him stopping Joshua again – probably faster this time round. Either way, it’s going to be a good fight.
“I’m on the fence – but my heart is going with a Ruiz jnr stoppage.”