Anthony Joshua was in hell for six months. He’d lost his heavyweight titles. He’d lost respect, and possibly, confidence.
But Saturday night at Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, Joshua won it all back by boxing his way to wide unanimous decision.
The scores were 118-110 twice, and 119-109.
Maxboxing had Joshua winning the fight by 118-110 tally.
As expected, Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) came out boxing in the opening stanza. He feigned, jabbed and moved to his left. Ruiz stalked but couldn’t rock. Joshua connected with a hook and crisp right hand. Blood began to flow from a cut over the right eye of Ruiz.
Ruiz (33-2, 24 KOs) jabbed in round two. Joshua moved to his left. Ruiz clipped him, but Joshua fired a right that landed. Both fighters connected with hooks. Ruiz landed a hard jab. Joshua went back to his corner with a cut on his eyebrow. Ruiz forced the action in round three. The six-foot-inch Joshua continued to use lateral movement. He landed a double left to the head and body.
In round four, Ruiz probed, while Joshua jabbed. He wanted to unleash his powerful right. He did, but missed. Ruiz jabbed as well. Ruiz fired a right—Joshua with a hook and right hand. Ruiz connected with a chopping right that bothered Joshua.
Ruiz was more intense in round five. He forced the action. Joshua remained focused at the task at “left” hand. He jabbed and jabbed. Ruiz, the shorter man by four inches, kept looking to let his right go, but Joshua was keeping him off balance. Ruiz connected with a hook in round six. Joshua fought back, but quickly went back to boxing. Ruiz’s fast hands are dangerous. Joshua knows this better than anybody. He stuck out his left stick. Joshua cracked Ruiz with a wicked left hook.
Joshua had done very well for six rounds. Ruiz was thinking knockout. Joshua jabbed and moved. A right missed by an inch. Ruiz wasn’t doing enough. Joshua cracked him with a right. Ruiz landed a left to the face.
Round eight was a rerun of the previous seven heats. Joshua boxed, while a frustrated Ruiz tried to do something. Seconds later, he did it. A whistling right connected. Joshua looked OK as he stuck to his game plan.
Ruiz tried to build after winning round eight. He fired rights. Joshua stabbed him in the mouth. He moved to his right. Ruiz fired another right. He wasn’t desperate, but each punch was laced with dynamite. Joshua connected with a combination. Ruiz fought back. Joshua took it well.
In round 10, Ruiz connected with a hook. Joshua stabbed away. Ruiz was looking for the game changing punch. Joshua worked the left. Ruiz was trying to time him. Joshua moved back, and then to his left, and right.
With two rounds go, Maxboxing has Joshua with a comfortable lead. Ruiz will need to land a big shot to change the completion of the fight.
Joshua knocked Ruiz’s head back with another jab. He connected with a right. Ruiz continued to stalk, but when he got close, Joshua smothered him. The left jab soon followed.
Ruiz, was told by his corner he’d need a knockout to win. Joshua stayed away and bought time. He connected with two rights. Ruiz took them. He landed a sweeping hook. Joshua moved and moved. He was winning, and knew it.
“I want to say, the first time was so nice, I had to do it twice,” said Joshua. “This is about boxing. I wanted to show the sweet science of this great sport.”
He did it.