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‘Joshua won’t retire if he loses rematch against Ruiz’

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 01: Anthony Joshua knocks down Andy Ruiz Jr in the third round during their IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden on June 01, 2019 in New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Anthony Joshua will not consider retiring if he loses his money-spinning rematch against Andy Ruiz Jnr, according to Eddie Hearn.

The Brit will attempt to reclaim the WBO, WBA and IBF world titles he surrendered to Ruiz Jnr when he meets him for a second time in Saudi Arabia this December.

Joshua suffered the first defeat of his professional career when he was stopped in seven rounds by the unfancied Mexican, who had only stepped in as a late replacement for drugs cheat, Jarrell Miller.

There are concerns if Joshua, who recently admitted he had become disillusioned with the sport, were to lose to Ruiz again that he would walk away from boxing.

However, his promoter Hearn has insisted that is not the case. ‘It would be a hard defeat to take. People say “Do you think he’s finished?”, but Joshua’s only 29,’ he told The Sportsman.

“He’s a competitor and he will want to go and rebuild again. How you lose is a different story, but I think he will win the fight. I also know that it’s a dangerous fight, he’s got a lot mentally to overcome. It’s going to be epic.’

Hearn believes the key to victory for Joshua will be in the mind. He added: ‘I would say a better mindset. It’s interesting hearing his interviews with Sky and him saying “I don’t really want to fight Ruiz”. There was never a moment when we were making the fight where he said he didn’t want to fight Ruiz.

“However, what he means by that is that he didn’t have any motivation to fight Ruiz. He still wanted to win, he still trained hard but he didn’t have that edge and that edge is going to be key.

“I think next week at the press conference is going to be AJ’s first time as a professional, looking into the eyes of someone who’s beaten him. The build-up, the edge of this fight is going to be completely different.

“AJ wants to knock him out. He didn’t look at him like that first time around, he gave him his belts to carry for a photo. It’s all changed now, so he’s got to be sharper, he’s got to be better with the jab, he’s got to be better with his feet, but it’s about the mindset and the will to win. This time around he has that more than ever.’

Joshua’s heavyweight rival Dillian Whyte’s future looks unclear at present after it emerged he had failed a drugs test prior to his points victory over Oscar Rivas at the 02 Arena.

The WBC suspended his position as their mandatory challenger last month and Whyte is now working hard to clear his name.

He could face an eight-year ban from the sport, having served a previous doping ban from 2012 for unknowingly taking an illegal supplement but Hearn is confident he will be out again later this year.

He added: ‘He’s still got to come out with a clear statement with UKAD and show everybody why he was cleared and why he should be allowed to box again. That’s important for his career.

“They’ve got to get that right, because that’s ultra-important, but I see him boxing in December.”


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