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British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was knocked down by Mexican-American boxer Andy Ruiz Jr in the world heavyweight bout at Madison Square Garden, New York on Saturday night.
Joshua put Ruiz down, as expected in the third, before backtracking and suffering his own crisis at the New York venue.
A massive underdog, Ruiz looked assured compared to the four-belt heavyweight champion, picking his moments until the end.
That fate came in the seventh round. Joshua was shaken for the third time in the fight as Ruiz pushed towards unified title status.
Looking completely useless, Joshua was stopped on his feet as a shocked crowd watched on in awe.
Joshua, previously undefeated and fighting for the first time in the United States, was defending his IBF, WBA and WBO titles but was knocked down four times in the fight before the referee waved off the contest in the seventh.
Joshua said he could have fought on but had no harsh words for the referee.
“I want to fight. I am never one of those fighters to disrespect a referee like, ‘he should have done this’ or ‘he should have done that,’” he added.
“He called it off when he thought I couldn’t fight. It’s a shame. But I don’t want anyone to drown in their sorrows.”
The defeat was a setback but Joshua said he would be back.
“Boxing is a tough sport. I trained hard, I stayed dedicated. And I just got beat by a good fighter tonight,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see how far he goes but good luck to him.