Anthony Joshua promised to go back to the drawing board after his shocking upset TKO loss to Andy Ruiz back in June, and did just that en route to regaining his unified heavyweight championship on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
It was quite telling at their weigh-in on Friday when Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), came in 10 pounds leaner than in their first fight, but still ripped, while Ruiz came in at a whopping 283.7 pounds – nearly 16 pounds heavier than before.
It wasn’t just the jarring difference in conditioning, but also Joshua’s smarter gameplay, which consisted of using his jab much more frequently and boxing from the outside. Ruiz lacked the fire and extra gear he had in June, instead chasing Joshua around and landing one punch at a time.
Joshua outboxed Ruiz from start to finish and avoided trading punches recklessly this time around, frustrating his opponent with two-punch combinations.
Final scores were 119-108 and 118-109 twice for Anthony Joshua.
“It was his night,” Ruiz said afterwards. “I don’t think I prepared as good as I should have. I gained too much weight but I don’t want to give no excuses. He won, he boxed me around but if we do the third, best believe I will come in the best shape of my life.”
“Never a change in mentality. You know the saying, ‘Stay hungry, stay humble.’ I have stayed hungry and I have stayed humble,” Joshua said. “I am humble in defeat and I will remain humble in victory. Thank you again to Andy Ruiz and his family, to Saudi Arabia and all of the traveling fans, all of my supporters.”