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THE world was shocked when Andy Ruiz Jnr toppled Anthony Joshua to win the WBO, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles in New York. But no one was more surprised than Joe Joyce. The British heavyweight was a long-time sparring partner for Joshua when Joyce was on the GB squad in his amateur days. He’d seen Ruiz in the gym too and didn’t expect the Mexican-American to seize the championship belts.

“Not in a million years. I saw Andy Ruiz in Big Bear and he was sparring with Charles Martin. But he was struggling to do two to four rounds and he didn’t want to spar me. I was just thinking it would be a walkover job for Joshua. Little did I know,” Joyce told Boxing News.

“I did a load more rounds with Martin,” the 33-year-old continued. “I think [Ruiz] was struggling with fitness, struggled with altitude and he wasn’t willing to spar me.” But he saw a different fighter at Madison Square Garden on June 1.

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