(Reuters) – Briton Anthony Joshua has said his first career defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. was down to a lack of experience and he has become a “smarter” fighter ahead of December’s rematch.
Mexican-American Ruiz produced one of boxing’s biggest upsets when he dethroned the previously undefeated world heavyweight champion with a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June.
“It wasn’t burnout. The issues I faced in the last camp, it’s just down to lack of experience,” he told BBC. “Even though it was at a high level, we were still finding experience.
“Andy Ruiz is good but I don’t think he should beat me twice. I used to hear guys say you have to take a loss and I would think ‘why?’”
“Now I can understand it and know what it takes. I have more understanding now and my ears are open to new information so that’s making me smarter as a fighter. Anyone can be hungrier, I am smarter.”
The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title rematch — dubbed the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ — will take place in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7 after former Olympic champion Joshua triggered a rematch clause.
“The blessing is I have a second chance and here we are,” the 30-year-old added.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)