AJ Regains Heavyweight Belts In Saudi Arabia

Anthony Joshua regained his world heavyweight champion belts on Saturday night after winning via a unanimous decision against Andy Ruiz Jr. 

On Saturday night it was the second fight in the Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua saga. The two men first fought in June with Ruiz coming away with a shock victory. Days after the fight, AJ’s team revealed that they had exercised the re-match clause in the contract.

Since the shock loss, AJ was questioned by many as to whether he was really that good. He had to endure criticism throughout the build-up to this fight.

The fight took place in Saudi Arabia at a purpose-built stadium which held 15,000. AJ was the 2/5 favourite for it despite losing last time with Ruiz priced at around 2/1 at most bookmakers.

AJ knew the pressure was on for this fight. A loss would pretty much spell the end of seeing him fight Wilder or Fury in the next year as well as damaging his reputation.

Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua 2

The fight started off well for AJ with him cutting Ruiz Jr. in the first round. However, you could tell straight away from the start it wasn’t going to be the same type of tear up that it was at MSG.

The rounds went on and AJ rarely going involved in Ruiz’s game. He kept his distance not allowing the Mexican to get to close with his fast hands. The rest of the fight carried on like this with AJ only making some small slight mistakes throughout the fight.

After 11 rounds, AJ was up 8-3 on the cards and could see the win in his sight. Ruiz went in the last round all guns blazing knowing he had nothing to lose. At one point he even stood there and told AJ to come and fight him.

AJ remained on task and after 12 rounds won the fight by unanimous decision. This fight was a lot different from the first one. There were no knockdowns and it was far more tactical that we had seen in America.

After the fight, AJ said he delivered a “genius performance”, by punching and not getting punched. Ruiz, on the other hand, apologised to his dad, his trainer and his fans. He said he had come into the fight overweight and that should have listened to his team and trained harder.

In winning, AJ became only the fourth heavyweight to regain their belts straight after losing them. He is now the two-time world heavyweight champion and will be looking to not lose them so easily again.

What next for AJ?

After the fight, Ruiz said he wanted the third fight. Whether this was part of the new contract remains to be seen. AJ had two mandatory fights now with Oleksandr Usyk and Kubrat Pulev. It looks more likely that he will be fighting Usyk next, who is ranked the fourth-best pound for pound fighter in the world.

Paddy Power has AJ as the favourite for that fight already at 1/2. This time though the challenger is at 6/4 instead of 10/1 like Ruiz was in the first fight. This would be an interesting fight as earlier on in the year, Usyk was the undisputed world cruiserweight champion before moving up to heavyweight.

Whether this fight materialises waits to be seen but hopefully within the next year to 18 months we will see a super fight between AJ and Fury or Wilder.