ANTHONY JOSHUA has bizarrely revealed he felt “relieved” after he was dethroned by Andy Ruiz Jr.
But the British heavyweight, 30, admitted he had trouble sleeping as he struggled to come terms with the defeat for three weeks.
Mexican outsider Ruiz, 30, stunned the world of boxing when he beat Joshua in June to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles.
AJ will have the chance to redeem his reputation when the pair collide for the second time in Saudi Arabia on December 7.
When asked how long it took him to get over this summer’s defeat, he told Sky Sports: “About three weeks. I’d be going to sleep, and I’d be thinking, ‘I lost’.
“But it’s cool, the blessing is I’ve got the solid people around me that have been with me since day one.
“So they know me as AJ, do you know what I am saying, so that’s a good thing. Even though I lost, it was only in my quiet times when I was going to bed then I would really think about it.
“In a weird way it was like a relief… It’s done. I’m quite a strong minded person, I find opportunity even in the worst cases anyway.”
AJ seemed to keep a low profile after the fight, but the Watford-born bruiser has admitted he was not hiding.
He said: “It wasn’t about hiding, it was more strategically, because I think the changes I made in training, you would’ve been able to pick up if I was showing you, where I was and what I was up to.
“I don’t hide from any situation, you could fill out this arena and I could talk about all my losses in life and I’m proud of them, I’m not going to shy away from them.”
Speaking about how he has prepared himself mentally for his comeback, he said: “Just telling yourself we belong here, this isn’t new to us.
“Yeah I took my loss but that doesn’t justify me, I feel like I belong at a good level of boxing.
“I’m never nervous, look at the last fight I was half asleep in the ring, I’m never nervous.
“I know I’m good, when you know you’re good at something you don’t make it the biggest thing in your life.
“The biggest thing in my life is actually training. The fighting isn’t hard, the fighting and winning isn’t hard, the training everyday, having the right people around you, that’s the biggest fight in my life.
“The winning, it’s easy, that takes care of itself.”
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When quizzed if he has any sports psychology to help him prepare for his return to the ring, he joked: “No. I want a psychic saying ‘You’re going to go in and knock him out,’ put me in a trance.”
And the Brit claimed his career will not be over if he loses to the Mexican for the second time.
He added: “No. No way. Unless Eddie [Hearn] bins me off and every promoter doesn’t want me, cool then so be it. But providing there’s still an opportunity, I will reign again.”