Anthony Joshua has successfully reclaimed the heavyweight championship of the world with a thoroughly comfortable unanimous decision victory, exacting revenge over Andy Ruiz Jr over twelve rounds in Saudi Arabia.
The Londoner started the bout in lively fashion, peppering his counterpart with left hands and building a seemingly unassailable lead on the scorecards before he was ultimately declared the winner by tallies of 118-110 (twice) and 119-109.
After he was sensationally relieved of his belts in June, many were prematurely penning Joshua’s career obituary and there was an unbridled confidence from certain quarters that Ruiz would be able to do the double over Joshua and leave the Diriyah Arena in the same fashion that he left Madison Square Garden, six months earlier – as the unified heavyweight world champion.
However, Joshua quickly put to bed such notions with a confident, assured start; making an impression in the opening round with a devastating right hand that opened up a gash over Ruiz’s eye.
Subsequent rounds were more of the same, as Joshua was consistently able to sting the plodding Ruiz with accurate straight shots whilst dancing out of danger whenever the Mexican attempted a meaningful riposte.
Indeed, it is reasonable to say that Joshua was dominating the affair throughout the early proceedings, fighting tall and completely nullifying Ruiz with his disciplined approach that was a far cry from the swashbuckling recklessness that characterised their first explosive encounter in New York City.
Ruiz remained a constant threat throughout with his hand speed, throwing with murderous intent whenever Joshua momentarily languished in mid-range, but was simply not able to close down Joshua’s avenues of escape. Although the Mexican had his movements in rounds four, eight and nine particularly; this were few and far between as Joshua was largely able to lead with his straight shots whilst denying Ruiz any opportunity to connect with his own spiteful counterpunches.
A win was in sight for the challenger as both fighters touched gloves to signal the start of the final round. As Ruiz attempted to force an unlikely stoppage, Joshua once again negated the champion’s offensive manoeuvres with his composed outside fighting to consummate a memorable victory in the Middle East; one surely made all the sweeter by the weeks of cynical speculation and doubt that had preceded it.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________