The rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua was a spectacle. The fight took place in ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. With no fighter was in their hometown, the environment was a level playing field. After Joshua lost to Ruiz in their first match–a major upset–this rematch was hotly anticipated. It did not disappoint.
The earlier fight was supposed to be easy for the undefeated Joshua who Portly Ruiz was a filler opponent up against 15:1 odds. Joshua had unified the heavyweight titles, winning WBO, IBF, WB and IBO championships. So when the underdog triumphed and captured them all, boxing fans were shocked. Many speculated that Joshua, in this first loss as a professional, wasn’t completely focused. On their December 7th match in Saudi Arabia, Joshua redeemed himself and won the belts back, though Ruiz is clamouring for a third.
Anthony Joshua, heavyweight boxer from Watford, England, had all the belts except for WBC which is currently held by heavyweight, Deontay Wilder. Joshua’s current goal in the sport of boxing is to win the WBC title and become the first person to unite all major world boxing belts.
For Andy Ruiz, however, it was totally different. His physique took people by surprise as he does not exactly appear to be in the greatest shape. Of course he trains very hard and you see that when he is boxing, but his body does not show his hard work.
Ruiz was never supposed to be in that match in the first place. The original fighter, Jarrell Miller failed 3 drug tests and was forced to pull out of the fight. Ruiz filled in as his replacement and was not expected to win.
Ruiz’s career took off after his win and became known as “the guy who beat Anthony Joshua” and the first Heavyweight champion of Mexican descent. He has since made the rounds on talk shows and podcasts, being interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel, Joe Rogan and former undisputed heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson.
Commentators were impressed with Ruiz’s perseverance throughout the fight. He gradually broke Joshua down. Joshua showed less and less heart as time he got knocked down, eventually seeming unwilling to continue the fight any longer. stopped the fight.
It was estimated that Ruiz made upwards of $7 million for his win. This has changed Ruiz’s life entirely as he has never made this much money before. According to Talksport, he used the money to buy his parents a truck, and also bought himself four other cars as well: a Rolls Royce, a Lamborghini truck and two types of G-wagons. He insisted to Talksport that despite his lavish spending, he has not lost his competitive edge.
But Joshua fell short in his first fight against Andy Ruiz, he had to do some soul searching. About three days after the fight, Joshua posted a video to YouTube channel titled “My Loss From My Side–Anthony Joshua,” explains how he is not making any excuses and that he is not going to change on anyone or switch his focus because of his loss.
“Never let success get to your head, and never let failure get to your heart,” he said, summing up the way he felt about losing all his belts. Joshua immediately went back into training for the rematch.
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” he said.
The rematch in Saudi Arabia was a more technical affair than the earlier slug fest. Joshua played the fight very careful because he knew if he got caught with another good shot, it would play out very similar to the first fight. So Joshua played it very safe throwing a few quick shots and getting out before anything could happen. There were a few close calls but Joshua managed to get away.
Ruiz who showed up 15 lbs heavier than he was in the first match, had a totally different plan. It seemed that he would wait for Joshua to come to him and then get him with some nice counters. Both plans work well, but Joshua seemed to get the better of Ruiz throughout each round and which ultimately won him the fight via unanimous decision.
Talks for a trilogy were mentioned in the post fight interviews as the score is an even 1-1. A third fight would break the “tie” and decide who the true champion is. In fact, technically, Joshua is the champion, but in the sport of boxing, a narrative is lucrative. Now both fighters, as well as the fans, know exactly what they’re getting into and how each opponent boxes. There are a lot of boxing fans ready to pay up to see how this story continues.
Image Credit: YouTube, Matchroom Boxing