Anthony Joshua has defeated defending champion, Andy Ruiz Jr to reclaim the world
heavyweight titles back in front of a 15,000-capacity Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The British boxer lost the titles to Ruiz in June.
Joshua won the yesterday rematch by a unanimous decision, as all three judges gave him the fight. Two have it in his favour at 118-110 while the third gave to him at 119-109.
Once again, Anthony Joshua, AJ, as he is popularly called he is the heavyweight champion of the world!
He reclaimed the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world titles back in the yesterday bout.
The Mexican, Ruiz had knocked out AJ in the seventh round in June 2019 to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, but a determined Joshua fought excellently well yesterday in Saudi Arabia to reclaim his titles from the defendant, Andy Ruiz Jr.
Here below is the blow by blow account of how it went down.
Joshua is first out as the challenger in a white robe. No entourage for the Briton – he strolls in on his own like it’s his day off. Maybe an early sign to the audience that tonight is about the fight, and not the sideshow – a criticism leveled at him after the last fight.
Ruiz walks in a golden robe with a nice fur trim.
How Ruiz and Joshua match up ahead of the bout. The Mexican tipped the scales at 283lbs at the weigh-in, 15lbs more than in the first encounter in June. Only Russia’s Nikolai Valuev (who was seven feet tall) has ever weighed more for a world heavyweight title fight. AJ came in at 237lbs, 10lbs down from six months ago and his lightest weight in more than five years.
Three countries’ national anthems played! After the British and US ones, a special rendition of the Mexican anthem, in tribute to Ruiz’s Mexican roots was played. One wonders why a fourth, Nigeria’s national anthem wasn’t played in honour of AJ’s Nigerian roots.
21.22hrs – First Round Starts
Andy Ruiz is in gold trunks and Joshua in white. The crowd has warmed up a little. As predicted Joshua is keeping his opponent at a distance, controlling the centre of the ring. Joshua gets in the first significant blow of the fight – a right to Ruiz’s temple. There’s already blood above Ruiz’s left eye.
21.26hrs – Second Round
Two quick good jabs from Ruiz. Joshua focusing on that area with the cut and it’s reopened early in the round. And then a right from Joshua at close range, but Joshua is also bleeding now.
21.30hrs – Third Round
The statistics say Joshua has landed 18 punches to Ruiz’s nine. Joshua looks almost skinny and he’s able to leap back from Ruiz’s jabs. Joshua gets a hook to Ruiz’s body at the end of the round. Not as emphatic from the Briton, but he edged that round.
21.35hrs – Fourth Round
Joshua is in control, but Ruiz – at massive 280lbs – is deadly dangerous if he gets a big blow in on AJ, who can’t afford to let his concentration slip. Joshua has consistently attacked Ruiz at the end of these rounds, and he does so again in the fourth. But Ruiz gets a punch in in the clinch and rocks Joshua for the first time.
21.38 Fifth Round
That cut above Ruiz’s left eye has reopened. Joshua still in control but he’s not going into Ruiz’s body and it may be a little one-dimensional. He smiles to himself as he lands a couple of hard jabs to Ruiz’s head.
21.42 Sixth Round
Earlier, Ruiz predicted that he’d let Joshua dance and jab for the first rounds before going in and causing damage, but Joshua hasn’t let Ruiz inside all since the fight begins. Joshua gets in close and delivers a blow to Ruiz’s body. It does damage but Ruiz will have no problem with the challenger getting in where he can do damage to him. Ruiz looks slow. The extra 15lbs he’s put on since June seems working against him as the fight wears on.
21.46hrs Seventh Round
Stats says that 93% of the fight has been fought at a distance, a clear advantage to Joshua, the taller of the two fighters. Joshua gets in a few hooks and for a moment breaks from the plan and darts in to do damage from close range to the titles defendants. And springs back before Ruiz can retaliate.
21.50Hrs – Eighth Round
It’s been disciplined and clever boxing from Joshua so far. No mean feat, when you’re thirsting for revenge and there’s the nagging desire to go in and finish the fight quickly. Ruiz looks frustrated and finally does some damage, landing a blow on the top of Joshua’s head. That was the most damage he’s done to his opponent, challenger in this fight.
21.51hrs – Ninth round
How does Joshua react after being shaken for the first time? Will he retain his discipline? He probably has this fight if he can continue to keep his man at distance. Joshua lands two good blows and dances out again before Ruiz can counter. He’s learned lessons from the first fight.
21.59hrs – Tenth Round
There’s been plenty of talk about Ruiz’s conditioning but he looks far from punched out after 10 grueling rounds. That said, Joshua looks the more sprightly of the two. A pretty cagey round, with neither man opening themselves up – possibly saving their best for the last two rounds.
22.02hrs Eleventh Round
Joshua sneaks in another jab into Ruiz, if he regains the title that hit will be a huge part of his victory. He’s held off his dangerous, shorter opponent so well tonight. The Mexican, who is behind on points, has done very little in these last few rounds to go for a finish.
22.06hrs – Twelfth Round
All Joshua needs is to just survive this round and be home and dry. Ruiz gets in close and lands a few blows to Joshua’s body but he counters back seconds later with a very big, big right. He, however, knows he doesn’t need the knockout and the Briton dances away. Ruiz smiles to himself as he swings away in the final few seconds but they don’t threaten Joshua. He is an all probability, the heavyweight champion again.
22.09hrs – Anthony Joshua regains his heavyweight titles!
Yes, he is! AJ has won by unanimous decision! The three judges had it at 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109. The two fighters hug in the center of the ring, it’s clear they have tremendous respect for each other as Joshua chats to Ruiz for about 30 seconds or thereabout.