Anthony Joshua regains his hold over the heavyweight division with an easy win over Andy Ruiz Jr.
Back in June, the world was shocked when Andy Ruiz Jr. beat Anthony Joshua to become the heavyweight champion of the world. It appeared as if Joshua wasn’t taking the fight seriously with Ruiz as a replacement challenger. This past Saturday (Dec. 7th), the roles reversed, as it was Ruiz who didn’t take it as seriously as he could have.
Under the pomp and circumstance of the Saudi Arabian lights, Joshua controlled the rematch, beating Ruiz via unanimous decision, 118-110, 118-110, 119-109. As a result, the king reclaimed his throne atop the heavyweight division.
Joshua (23-1) was serious from the getgo; coming out alone and without the classic smile we are used to seeing. He trained harder, he let his hair grow out and he was ready to become the golden boy of boxing once again. From the moment the bell rang, the fairytale story came to an end. Joshua outclassed Ruiz.
“I don’t think I prepared as good as I should have,” Ruiz stated after the fight. “I gained too much weight, but I don’t want to give no excuses. He won, he boxed me around, but if we do the third, best believe I will come in the best shape of my life.”
Ruiz (33-2) weighed in at 283lbs, where in the first fight he was 268lbs. It appeared he flew too close to the sun, as he was dealing with a championship hangover. Joshua weighed 237lbs, ten pounds lighter than the last fight. The weight indeed made the difference, as Joshua was gliding. Even without knockout power in his system, he still systematically destroyed the man everyone is now calling a one-hit-wonder.
Cruel? Yes. Fair? As seen above, Ruiz would agree.
Joshua started off the fight hot, landing solid rights that ended up cutting Ruiz in the opening seconds of the first. He continued to use his right to land clean shots, including the jab that kept Ruiz back every single time.
The theme of the fight was Joshua schooling Ruiz, even though the latter at no point was by the ropes. The middle of the ring was his canvas, but it was Joshua who was the artist at work. Joshua had already marked up Ruiz’s face with shots in the fifth round. Ruiz wasn’t taking any risks until the later rounds, but at that point, it was too late.
Ruiz threw wild haymakers after the sixth round and even landed a few illegal punches to the back of Joshua’s head. The legal rights that connected, however, reminded fans of what won him the fight last time out. It was only a tease, however, as Ruiz’s lack of training caught up to him.
By round ten, Joshua had that smile back, and you could tell the fight was over. Even with Ruiz hitting some clean shots, the jabs of Joshua kept him at bay. According to CompuBox, Joshua landed 107 of 373 punches while Ruiz only connected with 60 shots out of 261 attempted hits.
Following the first fight, a humble and defeated Joshua was honest with the media and fans. He wasn’t as hungry during that fight and he paid for it. All these months later, his quest for redemption resulted in a big win for him, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing.
“Never a change in mentality. You know the saying, ‘Stay hungry, stay humble.’ I have stayed hungry, and I have stayed humble,” Joshua stated. “I am humble in defeat, and I will remain humble in victory. Thank you again to Andy Ruiz and his family, to Saudi Arabia and all of the traveling fans, all of my supporters.”
Now we are back to square one. We will have to wait for the winner of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder rematch for Joshua to see who will be his next big challenge. The 30-year-old came into the unknown and made his mark. Now he heads back home a hero, and with just a little more respect from the boxing community.
As for Ruiz, nobody will ever forget his Buster Douglas-like story. How he recovers from this embarrassing loss will be the ultimate test.
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