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Anthony Joshua ‘didn’t even ask about a rematch clause’ before Andy Ruiz Jr. fight

Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

On Saturday night, Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr. made history by upsetting Anthony Joshua and taking the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles.

No one had been giving Ruiz much of a chance going in. He was a replacement on five weeks notice after Joshua’s original opponent, Jarrell Miller, failed multiple drug tests for EPO, HGH and GW1516. His body type and nonthreatening demeanor had a lot of casual boxing fans doubting his athletic ability and sleeping on his heavy hands. Even those that took him seriously didn’t take him that seriously. This is Anthony Joshua he’s facing, after all!

But Ruiz proved the world wrong, waking up from a knockdown in the third round to score two knockdowns of his own, and another two in the seventh round to end things. Now the big question is whether there was an immediate rematch clause in their contract, and will it be exercised?

It turns out Anthony Joshua was one of those who didn’t take Ruiz seriously as a threat.

”I didn’t even ask about a rematch clause because I was so confident I was going to win,” he admitted (via The Guardian). “If it’s there, we’ll go again and I’ll get the titles back. I’m going to beat him up. I’m not dwelling on it. You just correct it, you adjust, you sit down, you focus and you go again.”

Fortunately for Joshua, his promoter Eddie Hearn did indeed make sure there was an immediate rematch clause included in the bout agreement.

“AJ got sloppy,” Hearn said. “It was a beautiful combination in the third round. He was in total control of the fight but he got sloppy and never recovered. Listen, tonight was [Ruiz’s] night but AJ will come back 100% and we will make the rematch in the UK in November or December. But this night now belongs to Andy Ruiz.”

“AJ has the heart of a lion and will come back stronger,” he continued. “Now at least we know the opponent for the end of the year in the UK. Absolutely we will enact the immediate rematch. He will be devastated when it sinks in. It makes the fall fight a must-win.”

As usual in boxing, there’s a few complications that could make winning all those belts back difficult for Joshua. The IBF has put forward Kubrat Pulev as a mandatory challenger for their belt, which could result in that belt getting stripped away if (really when) Ruiz goes through with the immediate Joshua rematch. And there’s also the possibility that Ruiz, a part of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions stable, may fight another one of Haymon’s fighters instead ... Deontay Wilder.

Wilder currently holds the WBC heavyweight belt and has been pushing hard for a fight with Joshua to unify the titles. Joshua’s promoters have seemed happy to wait for the hype to build on that while taking less dangerous fights. That didn’t really work out for them in this case, and now Haymon may be in a position to pull a power play and keep the belts ‘in the family.’ It’s boxing after all, so anything is possible.

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