By Dean Berman: Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) put in a Klitschko-esque effort in fighting defensively for 12 rounds to win a 12 round unanimous decision in avenging his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) on Saturday night in front of a huge crowd of 15,000 fans.
Joshua won back his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, but he probably didn’t win any new boxing fans. He fought too much like former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko tonight, and there wasn’t enough action to make it interesting for fans.
Ruiz looked frustrated at the movement and holding by Joshua, but he should have been ready for these tactics. He was told many times heading into this fight that Joshua was going to spoil for 12 rounds, and he didn’t seem to understand that.
Joshua moved nonstop, held his left hand out as a stick to keep Ruiz from getting close, and he tied him up when he would get in punching range. Ruiz failed to move quickly to cut off the ring, and he fought like he was afraid to go all out in the way that he needed to win. One reason for that was the extra 15 pounds that Ruiz had put from this first fight to the second one.
This fight wouldn’t be described as EXCITING by any standards. If a typical Deontay Wilder fight would be considered as the gold standard for excitement, tonight’s Joshua vs. Ruiz 2 contest was more like the COPPER standard. It was a sleep-inducing match from start to finish.
All results from Saudi Arabia:
Anthony Joshua W PTS 12 Andy Ruiz
(118-110, 118-110, 119-109 )
Michael Hunter Draw Alexander Povetkin
Dillian Whyte W PTS 12 Mariusz Wach
Filip Hrgovic W KO 3 Eric Molina
Mahammadrasul Majidov W TKO 2 Tom Little
Zuhayr Al Qahtani W PTS 8 Omar Dusary
Majid Al Naqbi W TKO 3 Ilia Beruashvili
‘Hopey’ Price W TKO 3 Swedi Mohamedi