Eddie Hearn, promoter of Anthony Joshua, has shot down rumors that his boxer was battered and knocked out in sparring.
Andy Ruiz dethroned Joshua with a stunning seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday to become the first Mexican-American world heavyweight champion.
Joshua, previously undefeated and fighting for the first time in the United States, was defending his IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO titles but was knocked down four times in the fight before the referee waved off the contest in the seventh.
Joshua said he could have fought on but had no harsh words for the referee.
The defeat was a setback but Joshua said he would be back.
Ruiz had not been given much chance of beating the champion given he had just five full weeks to prepare after Joshua’s scheduled opponent, Jarrell Miller, tested positive performance-enhancing drugs.
Ruiz was dropped to the canvas in the third but the heavy brawler came back to down the Brit in the same round and Joshua was lucky to survive.
Joshua appeared to recover and worked his jab well over the next few rounds but Ruiz landed big body shots in the sixth to put the champion on the back foot.
Joshua went down again in a flurry of Ruiz punches with nearly two minutes left in the seventh and while the British fighter got off his knees just in time to beat the count his legs looked like jelly as he made his way to a neutral corner.
The referee asked him if he was okay to continue before waving his arms to end the fight, prompting wild celebrations in the ring by Ruiz and his trainers.
But now rumors have come out that Joshua may have been knocked out during a training camp sparring session.
“Absolutely there is no truth that he was badly hurt in sparring, there were no health concerns going into the fight,” Hearn told The Telegraph.
“The biggest concern was a stye on his eye. He’s putting on a brave face after the defeat, but he is already starting to think about getting revenge – the rematch is a huge fight and there’s a lot of pressure on AJ to win it.”