Editor's letter | Highlight 1 | Issue | Premium | Aug 05 2019

Anthony Joshua is on dangerous ground

The lessons of heavyweight history tell Matt Christie that Anthony Joshua has got a mountain to climb in the rematch with Andy Ruiz Jnr
Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua
The mental dimension to this fight is fascinating Action Images/Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

ANTHONY JOSHUA’S decision to go straight into a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jnr is a brave one, particularly considering the nature of his humbling defeat in their first fight in June. After all, it was not a one-punch knockout that can be written off as a fluke, nor was it a close decision that could have gone either way. There was not a shred of controversy or doubt about Ruiz’s superiority at the fight’s end. It was a punishing seven-round beatdown that dug up all of the previously undefeated superstar’s shortcomings and showcased them to the world.

In that regard, and irrespective of the numerous conspiracy theories that ran amok in the aftermath, the odds – at least in the books of heavyweight history – are very much against Joshua gaining revenge in an immediate return.

Take a trip back, through the banner division’s rich timelines, and it’s difficult to find a loss like Joshua’s that was reversed in the next outing. We can’t really count Lennox Lewis taking Hasim Rahman lightly in 2001, getting clocked by one punch and putting things right a few months later, because the mistakes that Lewis made were far easier to rectify than those of Joshua. No, Joshua’s loss was drawn out, it was revealing, it was mentally damaging, in much the same way that Joe Louis’ 1936 defeat to Max Schmeling was. Worth keeping in mind, then, that the “Brown Bomber” scored 11 wins after losing to the great German before engaging in a sequel two years later (which he won in the first round).


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