- Theories about Anthony Joshua’s knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday were rejected by the fighter’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
- A sparring knockout, a backstage panic attack, and a prefight concussion are among the rumours circulating around the heavyweight’s loss.
- But Hearn told The Telegraph that “there were no health concerns” ahead of Joshua’s American debut versus Ruiz.
- Hearn added that Joshua was focused on getting his heavyweight world titles back and wanted revenge.
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Anthony Joshua’s shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday has spawned wild conspiracy theories.
Joshua, the former unified heavyweight boxing champion, is rumoured to have been knocked out in sparring, had a panic attack backstage, and walked to the ring with a concussion before Ruiz even hit him.
But the rumours have been rejected by the fighter’s promoter Eddie Hearn, the group managing director of Matchroom Sport.
Joshua boxed sluggishly in his American debut, getting knocked down twice in the third round and twice again in the seventh before the referee waved the fight off for good because Joshua didn’t respond while trying to balance himself on the top ropes in a neutral corner.
It wasn’t long before people on the internet tried to explain Joshua’s loss at Madison Square Garden in New York. Reports emerged from reliable boxing news outlets that he had even been knocked out in a sparring session days before the fight.
Phil D. Jay of World Boxing News reported on Monday that an American boxer named Joey Dawejko, ranked 57th in the world, had Joshua “hurt badly in a training session” and put him “on the canvas hard,” saying it “may have had a profound effect on the ex-unified ruler mentally.”
World Boxing News added that the sparring session left Joshua with a bruised face, which appears to have been visible when he spoke with Radio Rahim from the YouTube channel SecondsOut on May 27, six days before the fight, with a swollen nose and reddened cheekbones.
The TalkSport boxing reporter Michael Benson said there were also rumours that Joshua already had a concussion before he even set foot in the ring on Saturday and that he had a panic attack.
But Hearn slapped down all these suggestions.
“There is no truth that he was badly hurt in sparring; there were no health concerns going into the fight,” Hearn said on Monday,according to The Telegraph. “The biggest concern was a stye on his eye.”
Hearn also rejected the panic-attack rumour on Twitter:
Panic attack? I’ve heard all sorts of rumours – there was no issue at all going into the fight
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) June 3, 2019
According to The Telegraph, Hearn said Joshua had been “putting on a brave face after the defeat” but was “already starting to think about getting revenge.”
“The rematch is a huge fight, and there’s a lot of pressure on A.J. to win it,” he said.
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