On June 1, we got major league drama when Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the world with his TKO upset of Anthony Joshua. Six months later, the Cinderella story came to an end, with Joshua outboxing Ruiz over 12 rounds to regain the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KO) won on scores of 118-110, 118-110, and 119-109, nearly sweeping the scores from the three ringside judges. Bad Left Hook had it 118-110 and 119-109 on our pair of score cards, as well.
The 30-year-old Joshua made none of the mistakes we saw back in New York, refusing to engage with Ruiz, also 30, and give the shorter, always-dangerous man any real chance of doing significant work. Joshua simply controlled the fight at the mid-range, jabbing away at Ruiz, who never really got inside and never did any consistent work offensively.
CompuBox saw Joshua landing 107 of 373 (29%) total punches, and he was 65 of 270 (24%) with his jab. He landed 42 of 103 (41%) of his power punches, as well. Ruiz landed 60 of 261 (23%) total punches, and 37 of 130 (29%) of his power punches, plus 23 of 131 (18%) of his jabs connecting.
It was not, by any means, the most thrilling performance, but Anthony Joshua didn’t come to Diriyah to put on an explosive show. He came to regain his titles, and he did that, quite convincingly.
Both fighters expressed interest in doing a third fight, with Ruiz obviously the louder about it.
“The first time was so nice, I had to do it twice,” Joshua said of regaining his titles. “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.”
“I’m hungry, I’m humble in defeat, and I’m going to remain humble in victory,” he added. “Careers are all about experience. I took my L and I bounced back. Anyone can do it.”
“It was his night. I think I didn’t prepare how I should have,” Ruiz said. “I gained too much weight, but I don’t wanna give no excuses. He won, he boxed me around. But if we do the third fight, I’m gonna get in the fuckin’ best shape of my life.”
Ruiz continued, “I thought I was gonna feel stronger and be better, but next fight, I’m gonna get more prepared. I tried to train myself, kind of. Anthony Joshua did a hell of a job. I was chasing him too much instead of cutting the ring off. I was hesitating too much. Next time I’m going to do a lot better.”
“This man has been responsible for the growth of British boxing. He’s given everything to the sport,” promoter Eddie Hearn said of Joshua. “They wrote him off. They said he was all hype. He had to come back from humiliation. Tonight, he’s two-time heavyweight champion of the world. Give him the respect.”