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It wasn’t anywhere near as exciting and captivating as their first time locking horns, but Anthony Joshua made sure he was triumphant over Andy Ruiz Jr.
The two squared off in the main event of a Dazn-streamed event from Saudi Arabia on Saturday, but it was a boxing clinic won by Joshua. The Brit moved beautifully inside the squared circle and fired off hundreds of stiff jabs to thwart Ruiz Jr. for 12 rounds to reclaim the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles he lost six months ago in New York.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) took little chances in the skirmish and instead opted to pepper the shorter, much heavier American, picking him apart easily from the outside. Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) was never able to get into any sort of rhythm as he walked -- and sometimes chased -- “AJ” round after round. Ruiz tried getting inside multiple times throughout their contest, but when he couldn’t, “The Destroyer” seemingly was without a Plan B and wound up losing almost every minute of the fight.
Unlike their initial showdown, which saw both men pick themselves off the deck and Joshua stopped in Round 7, the rematch was a slower-paced battle and a one-sided one at that. Ruiz was cut over the left eye in the opening frame from a right cross and then Joshua was lacerated from a similar punch in the second stanza, but outside of that, the entire contest was boxing lesson from “AJ.”
Related » Ruiz Jr. vs. Joshua 2 Play-by-Play
Ruiz Jr. was criticized in the days leading up to the rematch because not only did he not show up to training camp until September when his trainer wanted him in the gym in July, he packed on nearly 16 pounds between the fights. Whether his extra weight made a difference in his performance with likely never be known for sure, but Ruiz Jr. lost a lopsided unanimous decision.
Two ringside judges scored it for Joshua via tallies of 118-110 -- as did Sherdog.com -- and the third saw it 119-109, allowing Joshua to become heavyweight world champion for the second time. The two combatants professed their desires for a rubber match next, rather than Joshua aiming to fight the winner between the upcoming battle between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
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