FightPost Boxer of the Week: Anthony Joshua
By Gary Kittilsen
On a weekend that was chock-filled with world title fights all over the world. One big fight in the most unusual of locations stood out for a variety of reasons.
A gold medalist and former unified heavyweight champion looked to reclaim his belts from the man who stripped it from him back in June at the Mecca of Boxing Madison Square Garden and for Andy Ruiz it was an opportunity to prove the first fight was no fluke a chance to stamp his legacy as the best heavyweight on the planet.
The two heavyweights entered the ring in Riyad, Saudi Arabia with something to prove and at the end of 12-rounds it was the former champ who was giving up roughly 50 pounds to his opponent that was able to reign supreme and recapture the heavyweight crown by scores of 119-109 and 118-110 twice as well takes home our Fight of the Week award.
The blueprint for Anthony Joshua was clear outbox and out jab the shorter Ruiz from the outside, smother him on the inside and don’t engage in heated exchanges. That was the blueprint and AJ could not have executed it better.
Handing in a near-perfect performance the trimmed down British challenger entered the rematch 11 pounds lighter and out jabbed and outmaneuvered Ruiz over 12 rounds keeping him at distance and setting up the occasional right hand and left hook from range.
Dominating the early rounds a frustrated Ruiz tried desperately to cut off the ring and work his way on the inside resorted to a series of illegal shots in the seventh that he was admonished by the referee for.
The champ had his best moments in the eighth round when he landed hard a series of clean power shots to Joshua’s head. AJ stayed disciplined and didn’t engage Ruiz and stayed on the back foot and got back to outboxing him.
That was the first and only real threat that Ruiz ever posed as Joshua won the late rounds as he won the early rounds boxing beautifully off the back foot and picked up the lopsided unanimous decision.
Post-fight the newly crowned champ acknowledged he couldn’t go in and look for a knockout saying
“I understand what Andy brought to the table so I had to decapitate him in a different way.”
As still the biggest draw in the sport of professional boxing and once again the unified heavyweight champ Joshua will be at no shortage of attractive options for future opponents.
The two discussed a trilogy and both seemed open to the idea, however, the rematch was fairly one-sided and not exactly a barn-burner that left the boxing public demanding a trilogy. In reality, the dream fight is still a battle for undisputed supremacy with undefeated WBC champ Deontay Wilder.
Wilder at the moment at least looks to be tied up with a Tyson Fury rematch in February and then quite possibly a trilogy match up in the second half of 2020 may put a fight for the undisputed heavyweight crown on the back burner till at least 2021.
However, a battle with WBO mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champ Oleksandr Usyk has been called by the organization and could very well be next for Joshua.
The other likely options would be either IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev or fellow Matchroom fighter Dillian Whyte who has long been in a position to challenge for a heavyweight title but hasn’t yet received the opportunity.