Anthony Joshua Beats Andy Ruiz Jr To Regain The World Heavyweight Title In Riyadh

08 December 2019
Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr, Boxing, Heavyweight, Saudi Arabia, Diriyah
Image: Getty
Who’s in for fight #3? (*Spoiler alert: probably only Andy Ruiz Jr)

Anthony Joshua is heavyweight world champion of the world once again after defeating Andy Ruiz Jr at the Clash of the Dunes in Riyadh last night.

As with the last time these two fighters met in June, the 30-year-old Briton went into the bout as heavy favourite, but this time there would be no mistakes, no humiliation, Joshua winning a unanimous points decision after 10 rounds.

A rain-soaked Diriyah Arena saw a leaner, more mature Joshua. He kept a clearly unfit Ruiz at arm’s length, fighting intelligently and using his better foot movement around the ring. Where he had left himself open in New York, here he was barely troubled by Ruiz.

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After becoming world champion for the second time, he addressed the crowd from the ring.

“First of all, I want to thank god, I want to say bismillah,” Joshua said to the delight of the Saudi crowd. “Next I want to say, first time was so nice, I had to do it twice.”

“This is about boxing, I’m used to knocking guys out,” he added. “But last time I realised, hang on a minute, I hurt the man and I got caught coming in. I gave the man his credit, there was no excuses. I said to myself I’m going to correct myself and come again.”

The Saudi fans had taken to Joshua in the build up to the fight, and he was consistently mobbed by well-wishers and selfie-seekers. Ruiz on the other hand came to the Kingdom with question marks hanging over his lifestyle and preparations, or lack of, for the rematch.

Having stepped in for Jarrell Miller in June, boxing fans had been taken aback by his lack of fitness, which somehow went unpunished by Joshua. If anything, Ruiz was in even worse shape and admitted as much at the end of the fight.

“It was his night man, I think I didn’t prepare how I should have,” he said. “I gained too much wait, but I don’t want to give no excuses, he won, he boxed me around. But you know, if we do the third fight, best believe I’m going to get in my best shape, and I’m going to be in the best shape of my life.”

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When pushed on his weight issues he said, “It kind of affected me a lot, I thought I was going to feel stronger, I thought I would be better, but you know what, next fight I think I’m going to get more prepared, I’m going to work with my team a little bit more.”

The Clash of the Dunes was the highest profile boxing match to ever take place in Saudi Arabia, even the Middle East, and there is now real hope that it will be the first of many in this region.