Anthony Joshua has taken some criticism for the mostly safe strategy he employed while winning his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz’s trainer, however, is among those that gave the British superstar credit for how well he boxed in their immediate rematch. The 6-feet-6 Joshua came into their second bout 10 pounds lighter than when they fought the first time, and used his jab and legs to out-point Ruiz by big margins on all three scorecards Saturday night in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua knocked out 21 of the first 23 opponents of his career, but he was cautious against a dangerous opponent who knocked him down four times and stopped him in the seventh round six months ago. A tactical Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) rarely exchanged with the 283½-pound Ruiz, who was out of shape and couldn’t catch up to Joshua when he actually did throw punches.
Judges Glenn Feldman (118-110), Steve Gray (119-109) and Benoit Roussel (118-110) each credited Joshua for producing a convincing victory. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist avenged his stunning technical-knockout loss to Ruiz on June 1 at Madison Square Garden and regained the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.
Manny Robles, Ruiz’s trainer, admitted in a post-fight interview with BoxingScene.com that Joshua’s boxing ability surprised him.
“He fought a great fight,” Robles said. “He surprised me. I don’t think I’ve – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a heavyweight move the way he did, you know, tonight. Stick and move and have that footwork. You just don’t find heavyweights moving the way he did tonight. And that’s very rare, to have a heavyweight move in the fashion that he did. So, nothing but respect for Anthony Joshua and his team, because they did what they had to do. They fought a great fight.”
Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs), of Imperial, California, campaigned for a third fight following his disappointing defeat.
“We’re gonna work on that,” Ruiz said. “And, you know, I won one, he won one, and we are gonna make a trilogy.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.