The crowd was 15000, and the atmosphere was tense. Hefty muscles flexed high and low in the ring holding Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua, one was defending his title, and the other was seeking revenge.
In June 1 2019, Andy Ruiz handed Mexico its first heavyweight title as a country and Anthony Joshua, his first defeat in his boxing career, he lost three titles in one night. The defeat didn’t only shock Joshua; it shocked the whole world and set him on a revenge mission. A rematch was scheduled, and the 7th of December was the date, the place was Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, and the stage is the world.
Millions of eyeballs stared at the ring as the match kicked off with the first round. Joshua drew blood from Ruiz as soon as the blows went either way, putting him in a mood better than he was earlier in the year in New York.
This is the round to round analysis according to Sky Sports Boxing.
He had to go through a torrid eighth round when Ruiz Jr landed the type of punches that won him the first fight – this time, Joshua teetered but remained upright, and eventually sauntered over the finish line.
Joshua drew blood from Ruiz Jr in the earliest exchanges – he immediately seemed far more relaxed than during the ill-fated first fight and fired a swift right hook which did the damage.
But Joshua then suffered a similar cut in the second round, above his eye, although he remained poised and unhurt.
Joshua was able to keep the shorter and heavier Ruiz Jr at his preferred range by moving quickly on his back foot, and flicking out a jab whenever the champion tried to creep forwards.
Ruiz Jr finally had success at the end of the fourth round when an overhand right crashed home. Joshua felt it, and the bell came at a good time for him.
But still Joshua was still able to execute his game-plan, geed on by Rob McCracken, the long-serving trainer in his corner who he unequivocally backed after the first fight. At his lightest ever for a world title fight and 10lbs lighter than the first fight, the Brit had enough gas to keep Ruiz Jr at bay.
Joshua landed a strong left hook in the sixth but Ruiz Jr would not be dissuaded from plodding forwards and threatening his own punches. The build-up to this fight had been respectful but, at the end of the sixth, Joshua shot a spiteful stare when Ruiz Jr threw two illegal punches.
Mexico’s first ever heavyweight champion, by the seventh, was getting frustrated and the referee admonished him for more illegal shots.
They went toe-to-toe for the first time moments later, in scenes reminiscent of the first fight when Joshua fell, but this time he remained firm.
Ruiz Jr’s eyes lit up in the eighth round when he landed hard punches to the side of Joshua’s head. There was a collective intake of breath at ringside but Joshua did not go down. Joshua then had to absorb even more in the ninth.
It was Joshua’s skill and finesse (although he crashed a right hand home in the final round) that ultimately made him a two-time heavyweight champion, joining esteemed company such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis in reigning again after suffering defeat.
Two scores of 118-110 and another of 119-109 meant the world titles returned to Joshua, who celebrated with his family and embraced Ruiz Jr after the decision.
Anthony Joshua’s come back is seen as a great lesson in coping with failure. Mohammed Ali and Mike Tyson were other heavyweight champions who overcame their loss to regain their titles.
His fight back spirit has been hailed as what it takes to win in a world where failure is inevitable. It is said that faith, courage and effort come together to deliver a better result from past experience.
However, Joshua said a lot of thanks and offered some advice in his victory speech, he said:
“I want to thank God. I want to say that the first time was so nice; I just had to do it twice.
“A man like me don’t make excuses. This is about boxing. I’m use to knocking guys out but I had to correct myself and put on a boxing masterclass. You have to hit and not get hit.
“I stay hungry and humble. Thank you to everyone; I don’t know what to say. So to everyone around the world and in this building – let’s go!
“Careers are all about experiences, I took my ‘L’ and hit back. I’d do it all again, if you are heard, we going to do a third.”