It was a masterful display of boxing as British-Nigerian boxer Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua yesterday in Saudi Arabia avenged his shocking defeat at the hands of Mexican-American Andy Ruiz six months ago.
Joshua made the most of his height and reach advantage – at 6ft 6”he is four inches taller – to dominate his much heavier opponent and reclaim the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts via a unanimous points victory.
After being stunned by the underdog Ruiz in New York on June 1, Joshua risked seeing his career go down the drain with a second defeat. Instead, he served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punches to become two-time heavyweight champion of the world.
As soon as the first round, Joshua drew blood, cutting his Mexican rival above the eye and from that moment never looked back. He kept Ruiz at bay with smart jabs and right hands throughout, to the delight of fans in the Diriyah Arena, in Riyadh. Joshua won 10 of 12 rounds on two of the judges scorecards while the third judge had him winning 11.
Ruiz never looked close to landing a knockdown and the scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 confirmed that Joshua was in total control throughout.
Not wanting to get into the firefight that caused him to lose his titles in June, Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) made it a point to stay disciplined, fighting on the outside and pumping the jab at will.
Anytime Ruiz tried to get to the inside to try and uncork his power, Joshua used good footwork to slip out of the way and avoid any significant damage.
The CompuBox stats had Joshua connecting on 107 out of 373 punches (29%) with 65 of those shots being jabs. Ruiz landed 60 out of 261 (23%) with 37 of those being power punches.
Joshua now joins boxing legends like including Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Floyd Patterson in the league of men who reclaimed the world heavyweight title.
With this comprehensive victory, Joshua has returned to reckoning as one of the world’s premier heavyweights and fans will demand blockbuster fights with WBC champion Deontay Wilder and former champion Tyson Fury in the near future.
However, judging by comments, there may be a third instalment of Joshua-Ruiz.
After his victory Joshua said, “The first time was so nice, I had to do it twice.
“This is about boxing. I’m used to knocking guys out, but last time I got caught coming in. I gave the man his credit. But I corrected myself and came again. I respect Andy and his family so much. I just wanted to put on a boxing master class, and show the sweet science of this sport. It’s about hitting and not getting hit.”
In his post-fight comments Ruiz said: “It was his night. I didn’t prepare like I should have, I put on too much weight but I won’t make excuses. I want that third fight and I’ll be ready for that.”