Comeback king

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 9 Dec 2019

Anthony Joshua would not be drawn on his future plans after regaining his world heavyweight titles from Andy Ruiz.

The British star won back his WBA, IBF and WBO belts with a one-sided unanimous defeat of Ruiz in Diriyah in Saudi Arabia.

The victory reinstates Joshua as a major player in boxing's most glamorous division, and instantly renews speculation about a possible unification superfight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

But the 30-year-old said while he remained open to a fight with the unbeaten Wilder, he would not "chase" the fight.

"We'll see what happens," said Joshua, who had seen negotiations with Wilder's camp fall flat several times before his defeat to Ruiz in June.

"Chasing that fight wasn't playing to my benefit, so I'm going to let the path takes it course. When the opportunity presents itself to become unified heavyweight champion I'll take it."

Mexican-American Ruiz, meanwhile, is eager for a third meeting with Joshua, although that fight is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

"Tonight's about celebrating victory," promoter Eddie Hearn said. "Anthony Joshua is an amazing ambassador for the sport ... They wrote him off. They said he was all hype. He had to come back from humiliation at Madison Square Garden. Tonight, he is the governor of the division."

Joshua said he had never doubted his ability to regain the titles despite his shocking defeat in New York, when Ruiz knocked him down four times. "I failed the exam first time. This time though I studied, prepared and I just knew I was going to pass."

Joshua also defended his cagey tactical style, saying: "If I box for the crowd, or box for other people's opinions, I might not have been victorious."

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