Andy Ruiz Jr has revealed how being completely written off inspired him to his incredible victory over Anthony Joshua.
Mexican Ruiz was given little chance of beating previously unbeaten Brit Joshua at Madison Square Gardens – with jibes about his stocky appearance made during Friday's weigh-in – where he outweighed Joshua by 20 pounds.
But he claimed the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles as he produced a TKO in the seventh round to stun Joshua.
"That was my first time on the canvas, and I was like, 'What the hell just happened'," Ruiz Jr, like Joshua aged 29, said. "But I had to get him back, I had to return the favour. That was my Mexican spirit coming through, I had to get him back.
"I was waiting for him to open up and break him down to the body. He hits really hard, man. But I thought he opened up too much so I could counter him.
"I've been working really hard, man. I wanted to prove all the doubters wrong, I'd seen all the comments.
"Well, what do you know, I'm the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world. I'm still pinching myself to see if this is real, man. Wow.
"All I need to do now is get in shape and look like 'AJ', I want to get in really good shape.
"I'm going to get back in the gym and work even harder; I'm actually more motivated now I'm the champion.
"Before this fight, I always said I wanted to fight Joshua because I knew I could beat him, I knew he opened up too much. My speed and movement was always going to be too much for him.
"I've been working really hard, man. I wanted to prove all the doubters wrong."
Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, who Ruiz Jr had repeatedly contacted in an attempt to force Saturday's fight at New York's Madison Square Garden, is planning an immediate rematch in the winter in the UK.
"Unfortunately, when you're learning on the job, things can go wrong," he said. "(Joshua) understands sport, he understands boxing and he got beaten by the better man.
"I'd love to be able to stand here and tell you that Joshua had a bad training camp but I can't, because it wouldn't be true. He got beat fair and square by the better man."
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