Anthony Joshua told to go back to his roots by former world champion boxer John Conteh ahead of Andy Ruiz Jr rematch

12 Nov

Legendary British fighter John Conteh has urged Anthony Joshua to rediscover what makes him a champion ahead of his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua lost his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles to the Mexican in one of boxing’s greatest ever shocks back in June.

Anthony Joshua will look to avenge his loss against Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch on December 7
Getty Images – Getty

And Conteh is a man who knows how that feels. He never regained the WBC light-heavyweight title he lost in 1978, despite three attempts.

“A couple of fights I thought I won anyway,” he told talkSPORT. “You can only do the best you can. Some get it back and some don’t.”

There are plenty of comparisons to be drawn between Conteh and Joshua.

The charismatic former champion was the golden boy of British boxing throughout the seventies before a dramatic fall from grace.

It was alcoholism which did for Conteh, a battle he has since won, and the 68-year-old believes Joshua must also conquer some mental demons ahead of his fight with Ruiz in Saudi Arabia on December 7.

Andy Ruiz Jr knocked Joshua down four times in New York back in June
Getty Images – Getty

Speaking at Maurice Newman’s Great Ormond Street Charity Golf tournament at Stapleford Abbots, the 68-year-old told talkSPORT: “The effort he put into putting the muscles on, he should now put into remembering where he was in Watford.

“Don’t try and be a scientist or a mathematician, go back to when you were a kid, before you even came into boxing.

“When you were getting out of trouble, avoiding obstacles and overcoming them.

“Go back there. It’s not an ego thing I’m talking about. It’s about choosing the right way.”

He added: “The greatest in the world get beat at the height of their careers. It’s a greater challenge now because he’s got the chance to come back. Join the club!

Conteh was WBC light-heavyweight world champion from 1974 to 1978
Hulton Archive – Getty

“All you can do is give it 100 per cent, you’ve got control of that. But you haven’t got control of the result.

“You can control trying to get to the right result, giving 100% and then you’re already a winner. Let’s see what the result is at the end and hopefully it goes in your favour.

“Everyone loses, it’s what you learn from it. You’re young and powerful and experienced enough to come back and win.”


Maurice Newman has been raising vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital for over 50 years. Click here to donate.

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