Joshua will fight Ruiz at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, but promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed that the current IBF, WBO and WBA champion wanted to face Cuban boxer Luis Ortiz instead.
The 29-year-old was originally scheduled to take on Jarrell Miller in the 'Big Apple', but the bout was scraped after the disgraced American failed three drugs tests.
This duly opened the window for other heavyweights, but having failed to agree terms with Ortiz, the Brit had to settle for a clash against Ruiz.
“That was AJ’s first choice. It was never ideal,” Hearn told Boxing Social when asked about Ortiz.
”That was a fight where Rob McCracken said, ‘If you want him and feel comfortable with three weeks of southpaw sparring, we’ll do it.’ We made them an offer of $6 million. That didn’t do it.
“We made them another offer of $7 million [£5.7m], that was probably eight times what he got for the Deontay Wilder fight. He still turned it down.
“It shows you everything you need to know. Who is turning it down? It is Luis Ortiz? It is his manager? Is it his adviser? Is it his promoter? Is it the network?
“People are starving these fighters opportunities to change their lives and it’s sad. Listen, if Ortiz wants to go next, he can have it next," he concluded.