Just days before his anticipated rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr, a totally reliable source has confirmed Anthony Joshua died for 11 whole minutes during an intense sparring session, but still intends to go ahead with the fight.
After Joshua was knocked down four times in the first fight with Ruiz en route to a seventh round stoppage, rumours circulated that Joshua was hurt badly in sparring in the buildup to the fight and suffered from a panic attack in his dressing room prior to his delayed ring walk, but Joshua and his team were quick to dismiss them as false.
As if those rumours weren't bad enough, reports are now coming in, mainly from World Boxing News, that Joshua momentarily died in sparring sometime in the last week, which will do nothing for the Olympic gold medallist's chances of reclaiming his world titles.
The source, who asked not to be named, claims Joshua was preparing for Ruiz' speed by sparring a welterweight and was unfortunately hit by a devastating combination that briefly sent the former champion's body to the canvas and his soul to the spirit world for a terrifying 11 minutes.
He also claims the British fighter was brought back to life by a local faith healer (or 'Ruqyah healer' as they're known in Saudi Arabia) who just happened to be in the gym, likely to help Joshua with his anxiety.
When Joshua woke up, he apparently told his team that the spirit of Muhammad Ali gave him some words of inspiration for the rematch, along the lines of "son, if you don't lose some muscle mass, that fat little Mexican will put you on your ass".
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, Joshua's promoter, had this to say about the wild claim:
"Who told you that s***? World Boxing News? Whoever it was, it's false. Anthony's been alive for at least the vast majority of camp and no welterweight has put him down that I've seen. There was that middleweight that rocked him a couple of times, but we banned him from camp weeks ago.
"I'm sick of these unfounded rumours going round. Anthony's a warrior. He didn't get knocked out in sparring last time, he didn't have a panic attack; he had a temporary fear-induced state of distress, and he didn't die in sparring last Thursday. S***."
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