Anthony Joshua Admits 'Health Issue' Prior To First Fight With Andy Ruiz Jr
Anthony Joshua has opened up about a health issue he was dealing with coming into his first fight with Andy Ruiz Jr.
In June, Joshua suffered a shock first professional defeat when he was beaten by the Mexican fighter, who despite coming in on six weeks' notice, knocked him down four times en route to taking his world heavyweight titles in Madison Square Garden.
He wasn't his usual composed self and there were reports that he had suffered a panic attack prior to the fight - though they were swiftly denied by Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn.
But the Watford fighter wasn't 100 per cent in his health and has revealed felt physically and mentally exhausted going into his debut on American soil.
"I had some issue with my health which I was going through for a long time," Joshua told the BBC's Mike Costello.
"I didn't know what was wrong with me. I felt so tired and drained and thought it must be down to training.
"In the changing room before the fight I got a bucket of ice and was putting my head in it thinking 'why do I feel so tired?'
"The responsibilities of being world champion are difficult. All that stuff, feeling so tired, dealing with obligations.
"After my check-ups it showed what the problem was and this is what you have to get sorted. Even in this camp I had an operation done but as I'd started training in June I had no issues."
The second fight in Saudi Arabia last night was a completely different story though. Joshua, who weighed in at three stone lighter, beat Ruiz convincingly on points and deservedly reclaimed his IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
Instead of trying to make a statement and trading with Ruiz like in the first fight, he sat behind his jab and controlled the fight. It wasn't vintage but it was effective.
Joshua has been ordered to face WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk in his next fight and very much welcomes a bout with the Ukrainian.