ANDY RUIZ JR admits he was surprised by Anthony Joshua's strategy for his clash with Oleksandr Usyk.
AJ suffered a unanimous decision defeat to the undefeated Ukrainian last weekend after being outboxed for 12 straight rounds.
The Watford warrior stunned fight fans across the world with his decision to try and box the fleet-footed and elusive Usyk, including his old foe Ruiz.
He told Fight Hype: “It surprised me because when I did an interview with ESPN, I thought Anthony was going to be the stronger man, and I thought he was going to box him around and use his abilities.
“He [Joshua] just stayed there, he wasn’t moving around and doing the same thing with me in the second fight with me.
"He ran around to make sure he didn’t get hit, and if he did, he would grab and move around. So he had a strategy. But for this fight [with Usyk], it didn’t go his way.
“It’s crazy because I thought Anthony Joshua was going to beat Usyk. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a 50-50 fight between [Tyson] Fury and [Deontay] Wilder.
"That’s going to be a really exciting fight. I’m going to be there."
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Joshua's head coach Rob McCracken has shouldered most of the blame for the defeat, which could very well have permanently scuppered a blockbuster showdown with Fury.
But Ruiz believes the Team GB Boxing coach shouldn't bear the entirety of the criticism.
He added: “You can’t blame everybody. Every fighter has got to take responsibility for themselves.
"It was probably the wrong strategy, and he [Joshua] probably underestimated him like I did with Chris Arreola.
“But we both got caught, but thank God, I pursued and got the W. I think Anthony Joshua is still there and still strong."
He kind of felt scared and was holding back a little bit.
Ruiz – who scored a sensational upset victory over AJ in New York two years ago – believes his old rival was 'scared' by Usyk's slick movement.
The Destroyer said: "He kind of felt scared and was holding back a little bit.
"Maybe it was the lefty of Usyk of his style and how he moves.
"I thought they both could have done better, but congratulations to Usyk.
“There are a lot more opportunities and a lot more we can switch up and have different opponents."
Joshua, 31, has activated his rematch clause and has vowed to learn from the mistakes he made against his fellow Olympian.
He said: "I've watched the fight, analysed my preparations and identified my mistakes.
"I've learnt my lesson. Don't worry about me. My spirit is strong!"
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