Aftermath: Ruiz vs Joshua 2
Photos: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Anthony Joshua exacted revenge on Andy Ruiz Jr via a wide and unanimous points decision victory on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia. James Oddy, Shaun Brown, Callum Rudge, Tom Craze and Lee Gormley from the BM online team are here with their take on the contest....
BM: Your take on the fight and both men’s performances.
JO: Joshua made the adaptations i didn't think he could make. Lovely jab, nice lateral movement. Aside from the odd moment he seemed very relaxed. I hold my hands up to say i got him completely wrong. Ruiz came in way too big. Although I do believe he took it seriously, I don't think he was as prepared as he should have been. His pleas for a third fight suggest a boxer who knows he didn't give his best account, although another 10/20 million probably appeals as well.
SB: A back to basics fight for Joshua. Hit and don't get hit. Make the jab the primary weapon. He learned his lessons and, what I liked, he showed real discipline in there. Ruiz was really disappointing and it stems from the weight and the post-fight comments about his training. He's enjoyed the champion's life and fair play, many of us would have done the same.
CR: Tonight’s bout made me think of Lewis v Tua. A dangerous puncher kept at bay by an elite amateur boxer with power of his own. Joshua boxed well very going back, used his feet well and didn’t give Ruiz enough opportunities to open up. On the other hand I thought Ruiz was really poor, the extra weight was definitely a factor, he looked slow with both hands and feet and when opportunities did arise he didn’t throw in the volume he did in the first fight. Really disappointed by him.
TC: I’d hoped for a better show from Ruiz, whose explanations that he’d put on too much weight and hadn’t prepared properly - for this, the maiden defence of his world titles - are frankly inexcusable. That, though, shouldn’t detract from a Joshua performance that followed a McCracken/Fernandez game plan to the letter. Joshua boxed like an Olympic gold medalist and to rebound like that, in such a short space of time post-MSG, is hugely impressive.
LG: Joshua did what he had to do against Ruiz this time around. It wasn’t the most exciting but it was very effective and got himself back on track. He grew with confidence after every round and could see Ruiz’s clear frustration. His jab and footwork were impressive, though let’s not get carried away with his boxing skills. He did the basic stuff brilliantly against an overweight opponent who just simply plodded forward. But he surprised me as I didn’t think he even had that in him, fair play.
BM: Who will Joshua fight next?
JO: I'd love him to meet the winner of Wilder/Fury. It has to happen next year. Still, i can see some type of keep busy fight before a super fight appears.
SB: I would imagine it would be one of his mandatory challengers, such as Pulev.
CR: His IBF mandatory challenger, Pulev and then Usyk. I expect Joshua to vacate the WBO title, Usyk to pick it up (vs Chisora maybe) and then once Joshua deals with Pulev he meets Usyk back in the US.
TC: I expect now is the time that the titles get fragmented. Given the choice of an IBF mandatory versus Pulev and a WBO mandatory versus Usyk, I know which one I’d be taking, and I expect Joshua to follow suit. There’s no need for a rubber match with Ruiz.
LG: A meaningless trilogy fight between Joshua and Ruiz will appeal financially for both men and all parties involved but I’d love to see Joshua thrown in with Usyk next while Wilder and Fury have their rematch. Then they can hopefully mix and match, though it’s never that simple.
BM: How do you rate the top three heavyweights in the world right now?
JO: I'd put Wilder top, Fury second and Joshua third. But really, all three are interchangeable. Ask me tomorrow and it might be a new order.
SB: 1. Fury. 2. Wilder. 3. Joshua.
CR: Wilder, Fury and then Joshua. I had Wilder vs Fury a draw last December but Wilder has had the slightly better year with highlight reel wins over Breazeale and Luis Ortiz I have him just ahead of Fury who took on poor opposition this year. While Joshua boxed well tonight, we can’t totally discount his loss in June. It was a bad loss and tonight’s win doesn’t put him above Wilder or Fury for me.
TC: Very little in it, and each of Fury, Wilder, and Joshua has a legitimate claim at the moment using various different arguments. The aforementioned is probably the order I’d have them in right now, but it’s far from clear-cut. There is, of course, one way to find out for sure.
LG: Despite the majority of the belts in Joshua’s possession once again, I still have Wilder at the top of the pile. Then probably AJ and Fury. Although, I think Fury would likely beat Joshua if they ever actually meet.