Boxing: Joshua takes revenge on Ruiz in Saudi Arabia rematch

Boxing - Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua - IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Titles - Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia - December 7, 2019. Andy Ruiz Jr in action with Anthony Joshua. Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

DIRIYAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Britain’s Anthony Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr on a unanimous points decision in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to seize back the heavyweight world championship belts he lost to his Mexican-American opponent in a shock upset last June.

The ‘Clash on the Dunes’ in Diriyah was for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles and Joshua set the pace from the start with a measured masterclass that showed he had learned from the nightmare of New York.

The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 to the 30-year-old Briton.

“It was his night, man,” said Ruiz as his six-month reign ended in the 15,000 seat arena on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh.

The decision to take the fight to Saudi Arabia had been criticized by human rights campaigners but Joshua complimented the hosts and welcomed Ruiz’s suggestion that there should be a third encounter.

“If you heard, we’re going to do it a third,” said the champion.

Ruiz had stopped the previously undefeated Briton in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden but there was to be no second bolt of lightning from the man in the golden gloves and shorts.

He suffered a nasty gash over his left eye early on, with Joshua also bloodied on the brow in the second round to keep the cornermen busy to the end.

As the fight went into the second half, Ruiz was looking frustrated and was warned for illegal blows.

The eighth was more promising, with Joshua momentarily appearing vulnerable, but the Briton took back control and by round 11 had a spring in his step, looking fresh and nimble on his feet while using his height advantage to good effect.

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