Andy Ruiz Jr. admitted that he was surprised by Anthony Joshua’s strategy of clashing with Alexander Usik.
AJ suffered a unanimous decision defeat to undefeated Ukraine last weekend after being kicked out of the outbox for 12 straight rounds.
The Watford Warrior surprised fight fans around the world with his decision to try and box the fleet-footed and elusive Usyak, including his old foe Ruiz.
They told fight propaganda: “It shocked me because when I did an interview with ESPN, I thought Anthony was going to be the strongest man, and I thought he would surround him and use his abilities.
“He [Joshua] Just stayed there, he wasn’t moving around and was doing the same thing to me in the second fight with me.
“He’d run around to make sure he didn’t get hurt, and if he did, he’d get caught and run around. So he had a strategy. But for this fight [with Usyk], it didn’t go his way.
“It’s crazy because I thought Anthony was going to beat Joshua Usyk. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a 50-50 fight between the two [Tyson] fury and [Deontay] Wilder.
“It’s going to be a very exciting fight. There I am going.”
JOIN SUN VEGAS: GET FREE £10 BONUS WITH 100 GAME TO PLAY & NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED (Ts&Cs applicable)
Joshua head coach Rob McCracken has taken most of the blame for the defeat, which could have permanently spoiled a blockbuster performance with Fury.
But Ruiz believes the Team GB boxing coach should not face full criticism.
He added: “You can’t blame everyone. Each fighter has to take his own responsibility.
“It was probably the wrong strategy, and that [Joshua] Maybe underestimated him like I did with Chris Areola.
“But we both got caught, but thank God, I chased and got the W. I think Anthony Joshua is still there and still going strong.”
He was feeling a little scared and was holding back a little.
Andy Ruiz Jr on Anthony Joshua’s loss to Alexander Uski
Ruiz – who scored a sensational victory over AJ in New York two years ago – believes his old rival was ‘scared’ by Usyak’s cunning movement.
The destroyer said: “He felt kind of scared and was holding back a little.
“Maybe it was Usyak’s lefty of his style and how he moves.
“I thought they both could have done better, but congratulations to Usyk.
“There are too many opportunities and a lot we can switch and have different rivals.”
Joshua, 31, has activated his rematch clause and vowed to learn from the mistakes he made against his fellow Olympians.
He said: “I have watched the fight, analyzed my preparations and identified my mistakes.
“I’ve learned my lesson. Don’t worry about me. My spirit is strong!”
Free bets: Get over £2,000 in new customer deals