In Depth

Anthony Joshua outclasses Andy Ruiz Jr to reclaim titles - how boxing pundits reacted

British heavyweight puts on a masterclass in Saudi Arabia rematch

Anthony Joshua is a two-time world heavyweight champion after defeating Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch on Saturday night. 

British boxer Joshua was in supreme form as he defeated the Mexican-American by unanimous decision to reclaim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. 

Ruiz Jr stunned the boxing world to win the duo’s first fight in New York in June but he was unable to land the big hits that shook Joshua at Madison Square Garden.

After 12 rounds in Saudi Arabia Joshua was declared the unanimous winner with the judges scoring the fight 118-110, 118-110, 119-109 in his favour. 

Following the bout there was informal talk of maybe a third fight happening between the pair, but boxing fans around the world will now be calling for Joshua to step into the ring with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury in 2020.

How the fighters reacted

Anthony Joshua 

“A man like me don’t make no excuses, my boy [Dereck] Chisora said I am ready to win this if I am ready to D.I.E. This is about boxing, I am used to knocking people out, but last time I got hurt, so I gave the man his credit, said I would correct myself again, I respect Andy so much. The sweet science of this sport is about hitting and not getting hit. Never a change in mentality, you know the saying ‘stay hungry, stay humble’ - I am hungry and I am humble. It’s all about preparation. One day when I release a book I will talk about my career. It’s all about experience - life is a rollercoaster, what do you want me to do, give up? Retire? Come on man.”

Andy Ruiz Jr

“It was his night. I didn’t prepare how I should have. I gained too much weight. I don’t want to give excuses, he won. He boxed me around. If we do a third fight you best believe I’m going to get in shape. I’ll be in the best shape of my life. I thought I was going to feel stronger. Next fight I’m going to get more prepared. I tried to train myself for this. I was chasing him too much. I was hesitating too much.”

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How boxing pundits reacted 

James Dielhenn, Sky Sports

“Joshua gained revenge for his nightmare in New York earlier this year, when he fell four times in defeat to Ruiz Jr, by winning a unanimous decision in their rematch and clawing back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. This time in Diriyah, in a purpose-built 15,000-seat arena, there had been a downpour in the desert but a disaster for Joshua was averted by his most disciplined and controlled performance to date.”

Luke Reddy, BBC Sport

“Six months on from the night where Ruiz stunned boxing, Joshua risked his career being left in tatters with a second defeat but served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punching to take the IBF, WBA and WBO titles back to Britain.”

Sean Ingle, The Guardian

“Before Saturday night only three fighters in the 127-year history of the world heavyweight title had successfully regained their title in a direct rematch, from the 10 fighters who attempted it: Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis. That is the company Joshua now keeps – although he will certainly have to improve to be mentioned in the breath as Ali and Lewis in the pantheon.”

Alan Tyers, The Daily Telegraph

“Superb, clever, athletic, brilliant and classy performance.”

Jeff Powell, Mail on Sunday

“The boxing world had worried about the historic risk of taking the immediate rematch but he made mockery of perceived wisdom by conducting a master class. That required sticking to the jab, move and frustrate Ruiz plan which had to work given his dramatic weight loss. Ten pounds lighter but light years wiser.” 

Dan Rafael, ESPN

“Anthony Joshua spent much of the past six months soul searching, figuring out what went so wrong in his first encounter with Andy Ruiz Jr and vowing to be better in the rematch. He was better. Much better, as he completely shut down Ruiz in a dominating tactical masterpiece to regain his three heavyweight world title belts by lopsided unanimous decision on Saturday.”

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter  

“Future plans are to celebrate and to celebrate hard. This man has been responsible for the growth of British boxing. He won the title after 16 fights and he unified the belts after 19. They wrote him off, he was humiliated in Madison Square Garden, they said he was all hype. But he has come back. We got criticised for coming here, the reception we got from the people and the vision they have for boxing here is incredible. We are not going to talk about other fighters, he is the king.”

How Twitter reacted

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