Anthony Joshua says his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr is a genuine test of his character, but insists he has come too far in boxing to fold under pressure.
The Briton suffered his first professional defeat, on his US debut, as he was knocked down four times before a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden to lose his IBF, WBO and WBA ‘Super’ world heavyweight titles.
Joshua is now expected to fight Mexico’s first heavyweight champion, Ruiz Jr, in a rematch later this year with promoter Eddie Hearn targeting the second fight to be held in the UK.
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“This is part of a journey I am on. This is boxing and what I have to do is reevaluate the situation,” Joshua said in his post-fight news conference.
“Make it better and we go again. We didn’t come this far to stop, fold under pressure.
“We came this far and I feel we can definitely go a lot further.”
Joshua admits he was beaten by the “better man” on the night as his hopes of setting up blockbuster fights against Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury suffered an unforeseen complication.
“Hunger is about life, not just boxing. That doesn’t leave me. I am grinding,” he said.
“I am ready to get back to work tomorrow – this is who I am.”
Joshua had won all 22 of his previous bouts, but the 29-year-old says his full focus will now be on ensuring that when he returns to the ring he is celebrating becoming a heavyweight champion of the world once again.
“If this was the end of the road I would say yes, but for me, it is [about] what is next,” he added.