How Anthony Joshua Reclaimed his World Heavyweight Championship in Saudi Arabia

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SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 08 – British born boxer of Nigerian descent, Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua, has successfully reclaimed his World Heavyweight Championship after defeating Andy Ruiz in the rematch on Saturday night at Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

Congratulations have poured in from many prominent persons in Nigeria including Atiku Abubakar, Ben Murray-Bruce and Florence Otedola, AKA DJ Cuppy, who is rumoured to be dating him.

Joshua lost the titles to Ruiz in a shock June defeat in New York. With his victory, Joshua has joined greats such as Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield on the list of heavyweights to reclaim world titles on the first attempt.

Here is how the fight went down:

First round
Ruiz is in gold trunks and Joshua in white. The crowd has warmed up a little. As predicted Joshua is keeping his opponent at a distance, controlling the centre of the ring. Joshua gets in the first significant blow of the fight – a right to Ruiz’s temple. There’s already blood above Ruiz’s left eye.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 10-9 Ruiz)

Round 2Second round
The vaseline goes on Ruiz’s cut. He doesn’t look too worried, but even though Joshua won that first round, the Briton was a lot more cautious than he was in the first fight when his aggression got him in trouble. Two nice jabs from Ruiz, his best shots of the fight. Joshua focusing on that area with the cut and it’s reopened early in the round. .Joshua focusing on that area with the cut and it’s reopened early in the round. And then a right from Joshua from close range, but Joshua is bleeding now too.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 20-18 Ruiz)

Round 3

Third round
Ruiz has said he expects Joshua to go for it in the opening rounds, so I wouldn’t take too much from the Briton edging the first two. “I think he will box around nicely for four or five rounds until I take the pressure to him, start hitting his body and mixing it up,” said Ruiz this week.

The stats say, Joshua has landed 18 punches to Ruiz’s nine. Joshua looks almost skinny and he’s able to leap back from Ruiz’s jabs. Joshua gets a hook to Ruiz’s body at the end of the round. Not as emphatic from the Briton, but he edged that round.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 30-27 Ruiz)

Round 4
Fourth round
Joshua is in control, but Ruiz – at 280lbs – is so dangerous if he gets a big blow in, the challenger can’t afford to let his concentration slip. Joshua has consistently attacked Ruiz at the end of these rounds, and he does so against in the fourth. But Ruiz gets a punch in in the clinch and rocks Joshua for the first time. I’m giving that round to Ruiz, just.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 9-10 Ruiz (Joshua 39-37 Ruiz)

Round 5

Fifth round
That cut has reopened above Ruiz’s left eye. Joshua still in control but he’s not going into Ruiz’s body, and is maybe a little one-dimensional. He smiles to himself as he lands a couple of hard jabs to Ruiz’s head.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 49-46 Ruiz)

Round 6
Sixth round
Ruiz predicted that he’d let Joshua dance and jab for the first rounds before going in and causing damage, but the Briton hasn’t let him inside all fight … so far. Joshua gets in close and delivers a blow to Ruiz’s body. It does damage but Ruiz will have no problem with the challenger getting in where he can do damage to him. Ruiz looks slow, and who knows how that extra 15lbs he’s put on since June will tell as the fight wears on.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 59-55 Ruiz)

Round 7
Seventh round
Compubox says that 93% of the fight has been fought at distance, a clear advantage to the taller Joshua. I can barely remember a clinch so far. Joshua gets in a few hooks and for a moment breaks from the plan and darts in to do damage from close range. But he springs back before Ruiz can do damage.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 69-64 Ruiz)

Round 8

A few more rounds of this and Ruiz will need a KO to retain his title. It’s been clever, disciplined boxing from Joshua so far. No mean feat, when you’re thirsting for revenge and there’s the nagging desire to go in and finish the fight quickly. Ruiz looks frustrated and finally does some damage, landing a blow on the top of Joshua’s head. That’s the most damage he’s done to his opponent tonight.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 9-10 Ruiz (Joshua 78-74 Ruiz)

Round 9
Ninth round
How does Joshua react after being shaken for the first time? Will he retain his discipline? He probably has this fight if he can continue to keep his man at distance. Joshua lands two good blows and dances out again before Ruiz can counter. He’s learned lessons from the first fight.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 88-83 Ruiz)

Round 10
Tenth round
There’s been plenty of talk about Ruiz’s conditioning but he looks far from punched out after 10 grueling rounds. That said, Joshua looks the more sprightly of the two. A pretty cagey round, with neither man opening themselves up – possibly saving their best for the final two.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 99-92 Ruiz)

Round 11
Eleventh round
Joshua snaps another jab into Ruiz, if he regains the title that jab will be a huge part of his victory. He’s held off his dangerous, shorter opponent so well all night. Ruiz, who is behind on points, has done very little in these last few rounds to go for a finish.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 108-101 Ruiz)

Round 12
Twelth round
From my viewpoint, Joshua just needs to survive this round. Ruiz gets in close and lands a few blows to Joshua’s body but Joshua counters seconds later with a big, big right. But he knows he doesn’t need the KO and the Briton dances away. Ruiz smiles to himself as he swings away in the final few seconds but they don’t threaten Joshua. He is an all probability, the champion again.

Guardian’s unofficial score: Joshua 10-9 Ruiz (Joshua 118-110 Ruiz

Anthony Joshua regains his heavyweight titles!
Joshua wins by unanimous decision! The judges had it 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109

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