Eddie Hearn has revealed he had the choice whether to go with Andy Ruiz or Trevor Bryan to replace Jarrell Miller for Anthony Joshua’s debut in America last year.
The unheralded Ruiz Jr would get the nod after Joshua’s original opponent Miller failed multiple drug tests and the Mexican would shock the world by knocking the unified champion out and claiming his world titles.
Joshua’s reputation took a serious beating due to the brutal loss, the first of his career, and the heavyweight’s promoter admitted he wished he had gone with Bryan in the immediate aftermath of the fight at Madison Square Garden.
‘Everyone who knows that fight knows Jarrell Miller failed his drug tests and we brought in an opponent three or four weeks before,’ Hearn told IFL TV.
‘You start thinking to yourself, was it my fault? Should I have not suggested Ruiz.
‘Ultimately Rob (McCracken) and AJ have the final say, but collectively as a team we all approved Andy Ruiz.
‘When we announced Andy Ruiz, we got pelted. And then afterwards it was “oh my God, I can’t believe Hearn chose Andy Ruiz, what was he thinking?”
‘Then you starting thinking did I fu*k up? I feel 90 or 95 times out of a 100 AJ should beat Andy Ruiz.
‘But then I had the opportunity to go with Trevor Bryan. He was cheaper and a lot worse and he had Don King, but he looked good in a pair of shorts.
‘I was thinking to myself why the fu*k didn’t I just go with Trevor Bryan? But it’d have been a joke and I’d probably got even more stick.
‘It was the first time I felt I’d maybe let my concern for what people think help me make the decision.’
While Joshua dealt with a lot of criticism for his loss to Ruiz, the Brit bounced back to get revenge over his rival in their rematch and win back his heavyweight belts.
That victory was the last time Joshua appeared in the ring, with the coronavirus pandemic putting boxing across the world on hold.
Joshua is expected to reschedule his postponed clash with his IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev for late in the year.
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