Anthony Joshua learned from his shock defeat in the first fight to secure a comprehensive and strategic victory over Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia and reclaim the WBO, IBF and WBA heavyweight world title belts.

It was one-paced, with few exchanges over the 12-round distance, but the focus and desire of the young British heavyweight - the 30 year-old is still young in boxing experience - cannot be doubted.

READ MORE:
Boxing: Andy Ruiz Jr. slammed over weight confession, trilogy talk shut down
Boxing: Anthony Joshua exacts revenge to reclaim heavyweight boxing titles
As it happened: Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr for the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles
Boxing: Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr weigh in ahead of rematch in Saudi Arabia, showcase body transformations

Historically, and for the record, Joshua became only the fourth heavyweight in history to claim the belts straight back, after Floyd Patterson (1960), Muhammad Ali (1978) and Lennox Lewis (2001).

Advertisement

Joshua graduated from his fight with Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium with honours in one of the sporting events of the year of 2017, but the challenger in this contest at the Diriyah Arena had been forced back to school following defeat to Ruiz on June 1 in New York.

British boxer Anthony Joshua and his American rival Andy Ruiz Jr. Photo / Getty
British boxer Anthony Joshua and his American rival Andy Ruiz Jr. Photo / Getty

Today's comprehensive victory, however, will give Joshua great confidence and takes him into 2020 with battles against Deontay Wilder - the WBC champion - and Tyson Fury now beckoning.

Regardless of what anyone else might say or believe, these are the Big Three, and the prospect of them meeting in the next 12 months is very real. Joshua may fancy a return match with south Londoner Dillian Whyte - who stopped Polish fighter Mariusz Wach on the Middle East undercard - but it's just as likely he will wait it out to observe the winner between Fury and Wilder, who are expected to face off in Las Vegas on February 22.

I'm told by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum that the fight will be officially confirmed by the fighters and broadcasters imminently, and, on that point, although Joshua beat Ruiz, there will have been little on show to worry Fury, or Wilder, from the Briton's display.

But take nothing away from Joshua, he did what he had to do. He followed trainer Ron McCracken's gameplan to the letter. He can smile inwardly at all those who doubted him.

Yes, he wants to be involved in a firefight, you can see that in him, but he kept his composure round after round. I was in the company of Fury's trainer, Ben Davison, during the fight, and his view was that Joshua had shown great focus, and proved that he can learn.

Joshua must continue learning if he is to overcome the greater boxing skills of Fury and explosive power of Wilder.

Heavyweight boxing should be about knockouts, as the old saying goes. In Saudi Arabia, it was about redemption for Joshua. Job done.

Advertisement