Anthony Joshua is a world champion once again in defeating IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night. It was a tactical fight for Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) with him taking view chances, and boxing in a fashion that allowed Ruiz ZERO chances to land anything at all.
Of course, Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) wasn’t helped in that he came into the fight weighing 283 lbs, and lacking the condition needed to successfully keep his titles.
Joshua took a handful of hard shots from Ruiz, but he held up well. AJ made sure that he tied Ruiz up immediately with bearhugs to keep him from getting off more than two or three shots.
Hearn insists Joshua deserves respect
“I’m so happy for Anthony. After MSG, that was a humiliating defeat,” said Hearn to IFL TV about Joshua’s win over Andy Ruiz tonight. “people dominated his heart, his boxing ability, his stamina, what a performance. It was an absolute masterclass. Look at the resume.
“How many times do I have to tell you? 15th fight Dillian Whyte, 16th fight Charles Martin for the world title, 17th [Eric] Molina, 18th [Dominic] Breazeale, 19th unification against [Wladimir] Klitschko, 20th [Carlos] Takam, 21st unification against [Joseph] Parker, 22 against [Alexander] Povetkin, 23 Ruiz, 24 Ruiz. Show him [Joshua] the f—- respect. Show me a resume like it. F— the humble stuff. That’s for him. Give him the respect!
“This guy is an amazing individual. He’s an ambassador for the sport, and he’s done so much for British boxing. He’s changed people’s careers. Tonight, he made history in the Middle East. The game plan couldn’t have been better. It was punch perfect, it was schooling. Ruiz is such a good boxer, and he completely schooled him.
Whether boxing fans want to give Joshua respect or not off of this performance is up to them. If the fans prefer to see boxing over brawling, then they were happy with how Joshua fought tonight. He fought like Floyd Mayweather Jr. in taking view chances, and playing it safe.
This wasn’t ever going to be an exciting slugging display from Joshua, because he realizes now after his loss to Ruiz last June that he can’t fight like that anymore. He doesn’t have the chin or the stamina to fight in that manner.
Hearn gave Ruiz just 2 rounds
“Unbelievable shutout. I gave Ruiz two rounds,” said Hearn. “I was like, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing,’ but Ruiz is so f— dangerous. The plan is to relax. The King is over there. He wants to be undisputed, but we got a load of mandatory’s now. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Tonight he made history. You can’t take that away from him.
“People don’t understand that they doubted him, and he proved them all wrong. He’s improving. I told you before he’s had 24 fights, and 40 amatuer fights. He’s getting better, better and better. But to come here off the back of a defeat that you went over 4 times, you’ve got the mental strength to come back and put in a performance like that. Come on.
“The last three minutes, I was like, ‘Just f— move,’ but he still won the round. I’ve got so much respect for the man. I’ve worked with him since he first turned pro in 2012. It was heartbreaking at Madison Square Garden,” said Hearn in remembering Joshua’s loss to Ruiz last June. What a man. Who knows what’s going to happen. MSG, Wembley, Saudi, let’s just enjoy it,” said Hearn when asked where Joshua will fight next. “You’ve got to enjoy a night like that,” said Hearn.
Joshua has to back mandatory defenses due to against Oleksandr Usyk and Kubrat Pulev for his IBF and WBO titles. He might vacate the WBO belt, and take the easier fight against Pulev. That’s a move Hearn would likely prefer Joshua to take, because Usyk is one of his fighters in his Matchroom Boxing stable.
If Usyk wins the vacant WBO belt, Hearn would have another revenue stream to make money for Matchroom. But if Joshua holds onto his WBO title to defend against Usyk, then one of them will lose. That’s bad news for Hearn.