Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) did what he was supposed to have done in the first fight against an out of shape 283-lb Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) in boxing him for 12 rounds to win a wide unanimous decision on Saturday night at Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
The judges scored it 18-110, 118-110, 119-109, all for Joshua. Those were fair scores. At best, Ruiz fought well enough to win 2 rounds, but that’s it. He fought like he wasn’t trained physically, and wasn’t willing to do the hard work that he needed to for him to win.
The combinations between this fight and the first one was like night and day. Ruiz was willing to walk through fire in the first match to land his combintions, and he didn’t allow Joshua to tie him up. This time, Ruiz fought like he was afraid to get dirty, so he plodded slowly in following Joshua around for 12 rounds, and not attacking him.
Other than the 8th in which Joshua ate some clubbing shots from Ruiz, the fight was largely uneventful for him. There wasn’t much action to speak of aside from jabs and rare right hand power shots from the 29-year-old Joshua. He wanted to win at all costs, and that meant it making it about as much fun to watch as looking at paint dry in the afternoon sun.
Both fighters were cut over the left eye during the contest. Ruiz was cut in the 1st, whereas Joshua suffered his in the 2nd.
Ruiz seemed to have a failure to launch episode tonight, as he got off to a dreadful start in following Joshua around the ring without throwing, and then he failed to adapt later on. In a nutshell, Ruiz fought like he was timid about getting back by Joshua.
What was interesting is that when Ruiz did finally start periodically attacking Joshua aggressively, he was successful, but then he would get tied up. Rather than continuing to throw punches while being held, Ruiz let Joshua stimie his offense with these fight-stalling tactics. Great fighters from the past never let clinchers stop them, but Ruiz obviously isn’t a great fighter.
Ruiz fought moderately well in rounds 8 and 9 when he attacked Joshua with aggression. However, from the 10th round on, Joshua was on his bike, moving throughout, and keeping his left arm extended far out in front of him the way that Wladmir Klitschko used to do.
With Ruiz needing a knockout in round 12, he tried to get to Joshua, but he couldn’t get near enough to him to land anything. In the final seconds of the round, a visibly frustrated Ruiz motioned for Joshua to come forward and exchange with him, but he merely smiled and kept moving. Joshua wasn’t going to accomodate Ruiz, and give him his only chance of winning.
All in all, Joshua clearly won an easy fight. He did what he had to do in order to recapture his belts, and return home to England as a world champion. But it wasn’t the type of fight that you want to see again. If Joshua is going to fight like this for the remainder of his career, he’s going to take a back seat to more interesting to watch heavyweights like Deontay Wilder.