ANTHONY Joshua has the utmost respect for rival for Andy Ruiz Jr after beating him decisively on points in their rematch on Saturday night.
The composed Brit outclassed Ruiz Jr, the flabby Mexican who had ripped away his belts in a New York mugging six months ago.
In the ring at the end of the contest, the pair hugged and AJ was seen talking in-depth to the man he beat to win back his heavyweight belts.
Joshua, 30, spoke for some time with his defeated rival in the ring in Saudi Arabia.
And after the fight AJ revealed what he said to his beaten opponent.
Joshua admitted: “I said, ‘Never give up.’
“I just told him to never give up. It’s tough.
“‘You’re a great man, first of all, and you’re a great champion as well.’
“But I told him to never give up and just keep on chasing his dream.
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“Boxing’s really tough, but he’s created his own history, he’s created his own legacy. And I created mine tonight.
“I’m glad we could both play a part in each other’s legacy.
“So I just kind of gave him a pat on the back and said, ‘I’m sure I’ll see you again.'”
After suffering a seventh round stoppage in his previous meeting with Ruiz, Joshua came into the bout with a refocused mindset which saw him adapt his training and weigh in over three stone lighter than his opponent.
The 2012 Olympic champion was clearly more aware of the threat posed by Ruiz and kept the Mexican at distance to command proceedings on the night.
Looking ahead to the future, Joshua told BBC Sport: “What can I say? I have been speaking about these guys a long time.
“You see this time, when I had the opportunity to just focus solely on Andy, my head is in the right place. When Wilder, Fury, Ortiz and Usyk are really ready, they will make the call.
“Until then, I respect them. I won’t continue to call them out.
“I am making my own lane and if they want to be a part of that, they will call.
“Ruiz did it and created a legacy. If those guys want to do it, they can create a legacy too. Look at all I have done, come on. When I call them out and do all of that, I lose focus.”