Anthony Joshua had no real trouble in his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday, winning an easy decision victory to regain the WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles.
All three judges gave Joshua the fight by a wide margin, with two scoring it 118-110 and a third calling it 119-109 in favor of the British superstar.
Joshua Too Much for Heavier Ruiz
Joshua used his speed and his skill to his advantage in the rematch, avoiding being drawn into a brawl even after landing hard punches in order to eliminate any risk of running into Ruiz’s power. Ruiz knocked Joshua down four times on his way to a seventh-round TKO victory on June 1.
While Joshua looked to be in great shape and in top form, Ruiz weighed in at nearly 284 pounds, more than 15 pounds heavier than he was in the first bout.
“I don’t think I prepared as good as I should have,” Ruiz said afterwards. “I gained too much weight, but I don’t want to give no excuses. He won, he boxed me around, but if we do the third, best believe I will come in the best shape of my life.”
The problem for Ruiz is that this loss likely knocks him back down to where he was in the pecking order before his first contest against Joshua: in a second tier of contenders with the likes of Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev, Dillian Whyte, and Michael Hunter (who impressed in a draw with Povetkin on the Joshua/Ruiz undercard).
Heavyweight Rankings: Joshua a Tenuous No. 1
The fact that Ruiz is now a former heavyweight champion likely puts him at the top of that second-tier list, and a couple impressive results could get him another shot at the title. But he’s clearly behind the big four who will be in direct contention to unify the titles – or at least establish themselves as a clear top dog – in the heavyweight division over the next couple of years. Here’s an unofficial ranking of the top heavyweight boxers in the world, as they stand today.
#1: Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs)
Joshua currently takes the top spot thanks to his impressive performance against Ruiz, but it’s a tenuous position, as the winner of the coming bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will certainly have the best recent win on their resume of any of the top contenders.
#2: Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs)
It doesn’t matter much who you put in second or third, as the next two boxers on my list will be fighting each other in February. Still, Wilder’s wins over Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz are far more impressive than anything Fury has done since their draw last December.
#3: Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs)
Fury possesses incredible elusiveness for a big man, and has been able to show it off in recent wins against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin. But that’s a low level of competition, so it’s an open question as to whether he’ll be able to get the best of Wilder in their second encounter.
#4: Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs)
If you’re not a huge boxing fan, you may not know who Usyk is, but the 32-year-old Ukrainian will be on everyone’s radar soon enough. The 2018 fighter of the year was the dominant force in cruiserweight boxing for years, and that clout led the WBO make him their No. 1 heavyweight contender after he moved up in weight, putting him in line for a potential mandatory title shot. Usyk is undoubtedly small for a heavyweight, but he’s looking to replicate the success of Evander Holyfield, who made the same leap up from cruiserweight in his legendary career.
The Best of the Rest
- #5: Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs)
- #6: Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs)
- #7: Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs)
- #8: Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs)
- #9: Luis Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs)
- #10: Michael Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs)