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.
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The judges scored the fight 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 to 30-year-old Joshua.
“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 criticised 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 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, keeping 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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