By Andrew Atkinson EXCLUSIVE
Anthony Joshua – with his WBA, WBO and IBF belts on the line – met his match in what was one of boxing’s biggest shocks in defeat against Andy Ruiz jnr on June 1, according to former heavyweight Paul Butlin.
“I’m afraid Anthony Joshua met his maker,” said Butlin, who fought Joshua in his second professional fight in 2013.
Butlin, 43, featured in the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida Leader Newspaper recently, was defeated in two rounds by Joshua – in a fight that help launch AJ’s road to super stardom millionaire status.
Now, after losing his heavyweight belts to Ruiz jnr, Butlin, son of Los Montesinos, Alicante based parents Barry and Elaine, says Joshua was running on an empty tank leading to his seventh round KO.
“Anthony got caught with fast hands from Ruiz – and looked like he ran out of steam”, said Butlin, who retired in June 2016.
In defeat Joshua lost his undefeated tag, and Butlin, a sparring partner for Tyson Fury, said: “Now the 0 has gone there’s less pressure for the win.”
Ruiz Jr sprang one of the biggest shocks in heavyweight championship history in defeating Joshua on his USA debut – with a seventh-round technical knockout – at Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz jnr, 29, from southern California, the 11-1 outsider to win, came off the canvas in the third round and put Joshua down – twice – before the end of the third.
Ruiz sent undefeated champion Joshua crashing to the canvas for a third and fourth time in the seventh round – before referee Mike Griffin put a stop to the fight.
“I just feel so good, man,” said Ruiz jnr, who captured Joshua’s WBA, WBO and IBF belts.
Self dubbed ‘Mexican warrior’ Ruiz jnr represented Mexico at the 2008 Olympic trials.
“This is what I have been dreaming about. This is what I have been working hard for. I can’t believe I made my dreams come true,” said Ruiz jnr.
Ruiz jnr stepped in after Joshua’s original opponent, Brooklyn’s Jarrell Miller, failed three tests for different performance-enhancing drugs.
In winning Ruiz jnr became the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight title.
A Joshua-Ruiz jnr rematch later this year is scheduled to take place.
On Joshua’s future, Oakham born Butlin said: “I do believe he will stop – but that’s heavyweight boxing.”