Anthony Joshua regains heavyweight titles with classy points win over Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia

Oliver Brown
Belt drive: Anthony Joshua has regained his titles - Getty Images Europe

He might be £70 million richer, a stone lighter, and far too deferential to his Saudi paymasters for comfort, but ultimately, all that matters to Anthony Joshua is that he is once again the heavyweight champion of the world. With a boxing display full of the guile and calculation that had deserted him in New York six months earlier, he wrested back his four belts from the fleshy midriff of Andy Ruiz and signalled a renewed appetite to dominate this sport’s most brutal division.

It would be a stretch to accuse Joshua of running scared in this fight, but the “Clash of the Dunes”, far from being the thunderous collision that many had envisaged, was a study in the wariness and restraint that Joshua had learned from his first humbling by Ruiz. Determined that he would not make the same mistakes for the encore, he showed off his newly-acquired mastery of defence, never wasting a shot and fending off everything that Ruiz had to throw at him.

True to a pre-fight promise, Joshua refused to celebrate wildly, instead settling for a smile of quiet vindication. The margin of victory on the cards, with two judges scoring in his favour 118-110 and the other 119-109, by no means flattered him. The intention in Ruiz’s camp is to extend this rivalry into a trilogy, but it is an invitation that Joshua, who more than doubled his net worth in 36 one-sided minutes, can afford to resist. He underlined here that his shock defeat six months ago, the only blemish of his professional career, was an aberration that should never have happened.

In many ways, this was a night of the unfamiliar. Not only did it feel jarring to be holding this spectacle in the heart of the Arabian desert, and at the behest of the Saudi regime, but for much of the evening a steady rain fell across this arid landscape. Riyadh receives an average annual rainfall of only four inches, most of it falling on Eddie Hearn’s parade. Perhaps, given the furore over the promoter’s grasping decision to bring the rematch here, it was a form of divine retribution.

Joshua reflected on his work as a masterclass in efficiency. “I’m used to knocking guys out, but the last time, I got caught coming in,” he said. “The sweet science of this sport is about hitting and not getting hit. Stay hungry, stay humble.” Such modesty did him credit, although his treacly praise in the aftermath for Saudi Arabia was more difficult to stomach.

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Ruiz’s entourage had suggested that their man’s dramatic weight gain had all been a careful ploy to overwhelm a slimmed-down Joshua. The evidence showed it was nothing of the kind: where Joshua was lithe and limber, Ruiz looked a ponderous shadow of his former self, confirming fears that the win of his life had led him to overindulge. “Next time I’m going to get a bit more prepared,” he shrugged. “Joshua did a hell of a job.”

Joshua cut Ruiz in the first round, blood trickling from above the Mexican-American’s left eye after he connected with a crisp right hand. The plan devised by trainer Rob McCracken was reaping early reward, as he waited for the right moment to unleash his destructive power. But the problem that Ruiz presents is his ability to absorb the most fearful punishment, before striking back with his own bombardment. So it proved as he tried to draw Joshua in, clashing heads with his opponent to give him a matching war wound.

Unlike at Madison Square Garden, Joshua was undaunted by the impact. He looked lighter on his feet, sensibly staying beyond Ruiz’s reach and resisting any crazy swinging. At the start of each round, Ruiz was bounding in, looking to administer the decisive blow, but still Joshua refused to become wrapped up in bruising exchanges. Whatever tactic Ruiz tried – be it a quickfire sequence of jabs, or a few sweeping rights – Joshua had an answer, at one point sticking his tongue out at the champion to show that he was in the ascendant.

Only briefly did this escalate into a brawl, as Ruiz unsettled his man with some crafty strikes to the back of the head, but Joshua knew by the seventh that he was ahead on points. It was increasingly evident that Ruiz would only take glory with a knockout punch, but Joshua, who has spent months selecting sparring partners who would mirror his stocky adversary’s style, ensured that there was no way through.   

Long range: Joshua was able to keep Ruiz at distance with his jab Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

With Ruiz becoming desperate, Joshua, a model of wisdom on the night, knew that he needed only to see out the rounds to seal a decisive victory. Ruiz sensed it as the clock ticked down, beckoning Joshua to trade at close quarters. Joshua just grinned in response, aware that the strategy to shut Ruiz down had worked better than anyone had dared hope. As the judges confirmed the inevitable, Hearn crowed that his boxer had been written off. It was nonsense, of course: Joshua has long confirmed that be belongs on top of the world. And after this exhibition of his more clinical side, one suspects he is there to stay.

 

11:20PM

Overall

A vital night in the career of Anthony Joshua. He looked in amazing shape, he had a gameplan, he stuck to it, and when Andy Ruiz Jr tried to knock him out of his stride he kept his composure and his head. There will be those who point to Ruiz's 20-stone size as evidence that his stunning win in the summer was the high watermark for him rather than the start of something, but nothing should be allowed to detract from a fine display by the Briton, who now has one, two, three, four belts back in his possession. We will get Oli Brown's report now; from me goodnight.

10:44PM

What now for AJ?

The obvious question is when he fights either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. Both of those will pose very different challenges to Ruiz. I think it was very impressive, the way that he went about this, both in terms of gameplan and preparation, and then how he executed that even when Ruiz Jr had him under pressure on a few occasions. Classy display from Anthony Joshua tonight.

There were one or two moments when he left himself a little bit stranded down the middle, going for a long right hand and Ruiz was quicker to the punch. If he did that against Wilder, and Wilder landed one of his big shots, that's the end of that. 

Tyson Fury, the smartest of the three in many ways, has an even longer reach than AJ so clearly it would be an entirely different fight again.

He's back: Anthony Joshua regained his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

I guess that there would also be the chance of a rematch against Ruiz but I would say that in entertainment terms Andy is a busted flush and will go down in the popular imagination - unfairly - as a fat guy who  got lucky once.

10:37PM

Two-time

10:26PM

Johnny Nelson

"I think Ruiz's life changes after that win in June. If I give you 15 million quid that is going to change you, your motivation, your lifestyle. And then when you see him come in at 20 stone... I think that is the thing about the true champion, staying motivated."

Andy Ruiz Jr. (left) in his fight against Anthony Joshua in their IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Championship contest at the Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire 

10:21PM

Eddie Hearn

"Future plans are to celebrate and to celebrate hard. This man has responsible for the growth of British boxing. He won the title after 16 fights and he unified the belts after 19.

They wrote him off, he was humiliated in Madison Square Garden, they said he was all hype. But he has come back.

We got criticised for coming here, the reception we got from the people and the vision they have for boxing here is incredible.

We are not going to talk about other fighters, he is the king."

10:19PM

Andy Ruiz Jr

"I want to do it again. I came in a bit heavy and if we do the third fight I am going to come in in the best LANGUAGE TIMOTHY shape. I got boxed. But I want to do it again. Thank you to everyone in Saudi Arabia. Who wants to see the third trilogy fight?"

10:17PM

Anthony Joshua

"First of all, I want to thank God. I want to say Bismillah! 

A man like me don't make excuses. Last time, I hurt him but I got caught. I wanted to show the sweet science of this lovely sport. It is about hitting, and not getting hit.

Stay hungry, stay humble. I am hungry, I am humble in defeat and I am going to stay humble in victory. I have so much respect for Andy and his family.

"Thank you to God and to Eddie and Barry Hearn." (disappointing for the Hearns not to get top billing there)

"If you heard, we are going to do the third."

"I am not perfect but I am trying. I want to shout out Prince Khlaed and Prince Abdul Aziz.

"Two time!"

10:08PM

Anthony Joshua is the heavyweight champion of the world

Superb, clever, athletic, brilliant and classy performance.

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

10:08PM

Result: Anthony Joshua wins unanimous decision

118-110. 118-110. 119-109.

10:06PM

End of the fight

I scored that ten rounds to AJ, and two to Andy. Really, 10.5 to 1.5. But it does not matter what I think, what do the judges think? We are about to find out....

10:04PM

Round 12 - last round - Joshua

Andy needs to go for broke obviously. He needs to get a hold of AJ. He's swinging but not landing. But AJ has landed one, Ruiz is bleeding again down the left side of the face. 

A minute left, what can Andy Ruiz Jr do? AJ still dancing and moving and jabbing every bit as sprightly and fit and smart as he was in round one. Massively impressive. Ruiz tries everything. He's goading Anthony now with a "come to me, come here" type gesture. Bit late for that mate - and literally so! That's the final bell and AJ surely, surely is going to regain those belts.

10:00PM

Round 11 - Joshua

If it's gonna happen for Andy it needs to happen soon. AJ showing no signs of gassing. Classy, classy effort this: discipline, a gameplan, incredible conditioning. Ruiz barrels forward and lands a couple of desperate body shots that don't really amount to anything. AJ has not allowed Ruiz a chance to use his power and his speed. AJ skipping around like a colt. He is in some shape.

Andy Ruiz Jr. (left) in his fight against Anthony Joshua Credit: PA

9:55PM

Round ten - Joshua

If this goes the distance, AJ wins barring something freakish. Ruiz, clever and patient, still looking dangerous but this is AJ's to lose because I don't see how Andy gets past that jab.

This is like AJ's performance against Parker, controlled and clever. Discipline. And against a quick, clever and committed opponent. 

9:54PM

Round nine - Joshua 

Ruiz coming at AJ, who responds well, calmly, competently, sticking to the plan and sticking him at range. Now Josh clips Ruiz! Big shot, Ruiz just shakes his head. Got a chin, the big Mexican lad. I reckon that's another one to AJ.

9:50PM

Round eight - Ruiz

Ruiz has hit Josh on the top of the head, Joshua looks angry. Ref stops them both to have a word. Ruiz, a wily campaigner, is looking to rattle Joshua.

And it is working! Ruiz has landed a couple of body shots, and he is getting inside, this is good from Ruiz, he has hit him and hurt him. Joshua is drawn into it! As the round ends, Ruiz has hit him hard in the face with a swinging left hook.

He rattled Joshua and he got in close. Scoring that round to Ruiz. Josh was rattled, but he didn't panic. He got away and got behind the jab again.

9:45PM

Round seven - Joshua    

Scrappy round, Ruiz hits AJ around the back of the head, and the ref has a word. AJ, riskily perhaps, looks to be a bit more rooted here, perhaps looking for the bigger shot. Don't, man. Just keep moving at range with the jab.

They go toe-to-toe for a bit - that's what Ruiz wants. Neither lands a telling shot.

AJ says something to Ruiz and pounds his (own) chest with a fist. He lands a right. 

The pros in the Sky TV box comms have it 69-64, with AJ winning every round bar the fourth.

Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire 

9:42PM

Round six - Joshua   

AJ swings, Ruiz is quicker and Ruiz has cracked him across the face with a left hook. That's how AJ loses this fight, for me. Going for the spectacular with a punch that travels just a leeeetle bit too slowly through the air. Ruiz saw it and went bang. But AJ rallies well.

And that is the only moment of the round really that you can score to Ruiz. Nice work from AJ again, reminiscent of his work as an amateur, classy and correct and sniping well with that lovely jab.

Chalk another one up to AJ. At the halfway stage I make that six rounds to nil for AJ, or arguably five and a half to  a half. 

9:37PM

Round five - Joshua  

Bellew: "Ruiz is a fighter who does very important work in just a few spots."

This round, five, AJ a bit more circumspect. Did he get a bit carried away in the last one? Corner was telling him to chill.

Ruiz's pace has dropped again, and this round is going to be AJ's again. Especially as he drills Ruiz with a right late on.

9:34PM

Round four - draw? Ruiz, maybe just?

Ruiz can hardly get near AJ at the moment, he is moving around him, and moving Ruiz around. But Ruiz is having a better time of it now, he's cutting off the space, he is looking to get inside. Ruiz has not thrown much and he has not really done much - could that be a positive if it goes long? AJ the one making all the running. 

Ruiz in his way is putting Joshua under pressure. Josh with a wild effort. Ruiz slips it... and here comes Ruiz! Ruiz has clipped him, and again, Joshua suddenly the one who looks rattled. Right at the end there, Ruiz got inside and got a couple away, Josh looked surprised rather than badly shaken. But a warning...

9:30PM

Round three - Joshua 

Another good round from AJ. He is keeping Ruiz at distance, the jab is working, Ruiz looking lumpen as he lurches forward and AJ can just tag him on the body.Ruiz cannot force the pace, and he cannot get close enough really. Macklin: "this sort of approach (AJ's) requires a different sort of energy though because it is mentally tiring, it can be draining. He has to keep it up and keep concentrating."

9:23PM

Round two - Joshua

Ruiz comes out well, though. Double jab, snaps Joshua's head back. But Joshua lands a jab of his own and that has opened the cut again. Everything going as AJ would have planned so far. Jab, jab from range, and now he has added a left hook into the mix. Ruiz is in trouble, he has to come inside somehow, and he's clipped with a right form Josh as he comes in. But there has been a clash of heads - and Joshua is cut too.

Deffo another round for AJ though. Other than the clash of heads, this has gone more or less ideally so far.

9:19PM

Round one - Joshua

Ruiz on the front foot. Throwing  a lot of jabs. Josh looks focused, strong, slim and godlike in his physicality. Joshua short steps, not dancing, looks like he has settled early in his work. He has got Ruiz at range. And now he has cut Ruiz above the left eye! A strong right hand, the blood coming now. That was a great shot. And Joshua doesn't lose his head and rush in behind it. Excellent round for Josh.

9:18PM

The fighters square up

AJ leaves a shirt on to the last moment. Ruiz stripped. And we are ready to go.

9:16PM

Josh enters the ring

Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

9:15PM

Judges - USA, Eng, Canada

Judges Credit: Sky

9:13PM

Here's a lad doing the Mexican anthem

A capella mind you Credit: Sky Sports

9:10PM

Andy Ruiz

has a sort of furry hoody thing on. He looks too nice to be a pugilist. He won't do in a few minutes time.

Fans in Diriyah Arena Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

9:09PM

Tale of the tape

9:07PM

Oh lawd he comin

Credit: Sky

9:06PM

AJ, in the role of challenger, goes to the red corner

Macklin says "I think he looks nervous but I think that is good, maybe he wasn't nervous enough last time."

9:01PM

Here they come then

Ring walk time...

Here comes AJ.

AJ walking out Credit: Sky Sports PPV

8:59PM

How do you think it is going to go?

Here are our predictions

8:57PM

Josh looks magnficent

and he looks calm and cool.

Here's Froch and Groves talking tactics!

Froch and Groves talks tactics Credit: Sky Sports PPV

Ruiz strong with the counter punch, getting inside with the choppy shorter hooks if AJ loads up clumsily for the long bomb.

Ruiz quick hands and longer reach than his appearance suggests, was able to back Josh across the ring.

Anthony Joshua ready to go Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

8:54PM

Carl Froch

"As far as I am concerned, Joshua's career is on the line. A bad loss here and I don't know what he does to re-motivate himself and come back. The pressure is massively all on him. I think Ruiz didn't expect to get the last fight, and I'm not saying that he didn't think he could win, because he has a lot of self-belief but...."

He also adds that Ruiz being (even) bigger than last time is "not a good sign for the Ruiz camp".

Andy Ruiz Jr in the dressing room Credit: Sky Sports PPV

8:51PM

Johnny Nelson

"The atmosphere has totally changed in the last five minutes. I just slipped backstage and there was a lot of nerves for both sides."

8:50PM

Eddie Hearn

"The British public. We need YOU. Get behind our man and lets bring him back to Heathrow as the champion."

8:49PM

Joshua

"I work so hard, I dedicate my life to this"

He's got the heart... how is the head? Anthony Joshua Credit: Valery Sharifulin\\TASS via Getty Images

8:46PM

Lots of stars there

Canelo, Amir K there. Defies belief that is raining to be fair - it doesn't sound like anyone was expecting that.

8:46PM

They really have put some bleachers out in the sun

Desert Credit: Sky Sports PPV

8:41PM

Get ready then

for Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz II

8:41PM

Anyway

wouldn't be boxing without some judging controv, hopefully that has got it out of the way ahead of the big one, which is next!

8:36PM

The boxers speak

"I cannot find anyone at ringside who thought Michael Hunter did not win that," says Sky boxing comms Adam Smith.

Let's hear from the men themselves...

Hunter: "I thought I had done enough but I have to go back to the drawing board. I would do it again for sure, I don't like to leave any stone unturned."

Povetkin: "I thought it was 50-50 fight."

Hunter and Povetkin Credit: Sky Sports PPV

George Groves: "all the best work came from Hunter." 

Carl Froch: "But in the last round Hunter was terrible and he might have thrown it away there."

Johnny Nelson: "I think Hunter won the fight."

8:33PM

Hunter and Povetkin - a draw

Hunter and Povetkin a draw Credit: Sky Sports

8:31PM

Oliver Brown at ringside

"With 30 minutes to go until the ring-walks for Joshua and Ruiz, there is no sign of any segregation of women in the crowd. Although some female visitors have had to adapt to Saudi Arabia's restrictive protocols - not least a rule in Riyadh hotels limiting women to only one hour's use of the swimming pool each day - more draconian rules have been relaxed. For example, there is no compulsion for Western women at the fight to wear the full-length abaya robe."

8:26PM

Hunter and Povetkin - round 12 of 12

This has been another good contest, the undercard fights I have seen on this have been well matched and hotly contested. 31-year-old Michael Hunter of America and the 40-year-old Russian Alex Povetkin touch gloves and prepare to go again. After this, it will be time for Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr.

Povetkin catches Hunter with a hard, short left hook that would do a mule no good at all, but I think we can add chin to Hunter's list of skills along with speed. I think we will see him get a big fight sooner or later. Other than that, the round is a bit wild and wrestling-y, there's a time out when Hunter is hauled to the floor, the bell rings.

Hunter raises his glove, he thinks he has got it, the Russian looks like he agrees.

8:18PM

Hunter and Povetkin - round nine 

Andy Clarke has got this 5-4 to Hunter at the end of round nine.

At the end of eight, Povektin looked a bit confused as to which corner he was headed for....

Andy Clarke scorecards Credit: Sky Sports PPV

8:08PM

Hunter and Povetkin - round seven

This is a ding dong now! Hunter coming at his opponent hard and he is landing and landing. A quick, dangerous looking customer with plenty of ability. But the veteran Russian has his say as well. Enjoyable contest this.

The Ring ranks Povetkin sixth in heavyweights and then Hunter at 21, could see him breaking through on this evidence, although at 31 he is not what you would call a youngster there looks a freshness about him.

8:06PM

Manager Freddie

8:05PM

AJ

8:01PM

Back to Hunter and Povetkin  

Six is not a good round for Hunter! Povetkin panels him with a left hook, rocking him back and he's cut. 

7:58PM

AJ looking super focused

Credit: Sky Sports

Commentator Adam Smith with some solid sports broadcaster stuff about "I ran into Joshua's manager Freddie Cunningham just now and he was very calm and focused."

Bellew: "yeah, that's all very well but I have never seen a manager nervous before the fight. They're not the ones about to get punched in the face."

7:55PM

Back to Hunter and Povetkin 

The Russian has settled. He seems more comfortable with the speed of Hunter now and this is a more even contest as we come into round four.

7:55PM

Andy Ruiz's cousin's house!

Credit: Sky Sports PPV

Family are all there watching. Andy's got five kids but they're all staying at home "this is the time for school," he says.

I like Andy. Seems like a good chap and it's always nice to see a person defy physical / visual stereotypes to reach the top.

7:46PM

Hunter and Povetkin

The American comes out at a hundred miles an hour, and has the senior opponent in big trouble right away, tagging him early on and then hurling him to the canvas.

By the second round, Hunter has hurt Povetkin, one of the Russian's eyes looks to be closing. Hunter is on the small side for a heavyweight but he is fast, fast, fast.

7:40PM

How do you think AJ and Ruiz will play out?

If you reckon you can pick the finishing round, and are of a betting persuasion, then step right this way.

7:36PM

Anthony Joshua

beat Alexander Povetkin in Autum 2018, Povetkin is 40 years old and, failed drugs tests aside, has been a persistently classy presence in the division.

7:34PM

There's an additional hat on underneath

Michael Hunter of the USA Credit: Sky Sports PPV

7:32PM

Absolute scenes

Michael Hunter Credit: Sky

7:31PM

One more fight

before the main event.

It is American comer Michael Hunter against veteran Russian Alexander Povetkin

7:28PM

Anthony Joshua

will ring walk at about 2045 UK time.

7:19PM

Dillian Whyte and Mariusz Wach

go the distance. Gutsy effort from those two... Whyte should improve for the run and it should be said that he didn't have a massive amount to prepare for that. Not sure it necessarily elevates Dillian's claims, but a win is a win...

Dillian Whyte wins on points - unanimous

"People have been screwing me left, right and centre for the last six months. I have been through hell these last few months. I came in at three weeks notice. I went from being a hero to being a nobody. Thanks to Eddie and Sky and Prince Khaled and Omar for getting me out here. Sorry I didn't get the knock out."

Dillian Whyte and Mariusz Wach Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

7:17PM

Whyte vs Wach - round ten - final round

Mat Macklin on Sky has it like 88-83 for Dillian. About 7-2 in rounds.

But Wach is coming on stronger as the fight progresses, Whyte looks tired as he leans on the ropes and Wach whales on him. But Whyte is strong and he is together. And he clips him with the left hook counter, good shot Dillian. There is a minute left.... Whyte has hit him with an uppercut and the Pole is rocked... Whyte comes forward, there are 20 seconds left and he is looking to close it in style... huge airshot from Whyte... the final bell goes! Whyte wins that one as well and should be home and dry on the rounds scoring.

7:15PM

Manny Robles

"We are ready. It has been a proper camp. I think they will have to change things, I would expect to see that. I expect the same result, this is what we worked for. Joshua is a great fighter and has a great team but we are going in that ring to win."

7:14PM

Whyte vs Wach - round nine

Whyte hits Wach low. The two men standing in the centre of the ring unleashing heavy shots but neither man landing the real sweet one.  Not sure about these tactics from Dillian, he was winning and controlling this earlier, not sure he wants to be trading at this late stage. Both guys tired now. Whyte is digging in. Excellent finish to the round for Wach.

7:11PM

Whyte vs Wach - round eight

Wach not really throwing in the first 2/3rds round. Whyte lands a few combos, nothing too dramatic but all scoring and all keeping him ahead. But Wach comes with a late run and lands a nice right overhand and then drills him with a left hook, Whyte is rocked by that, he was beaten to the punch and that landed straight on the chin. Whyte staggered. But he gets back to the corner okay.

Wach needed that round and can that set him up?

7:08PM

Whyte vs Wach - round seven

That's a clearer round for Whyte. Ref does not see White boring his head in the opponent's head. He should have enough for the W but it's not been a totally commanding display.

7:03PM

Whyte vs Wach - round six

Wach has got Dillian in the corner and has banged him hard with a beefy right. Not beyond the realms that Whyte gets turned over here. Still ahead on points as it stands.

6:58PM

Whyte vs Wach - round five

Wach again with an improvement, he's coming into this, he has landed a couple of decent body shots. And now he has pinged Dillian Whyte! That was a good clean shot to the head, Dillian takes it okay and comes back at him. Wach's best round so far.

6:57PM

Whyte vs Wach - round four

busier round from Wach, but still scoring that to Whyte all in all.

6:56PM

Andy Ruiz interviewed backstage

"Been working hard since I was six years old. There is a little bit of extra pressure, I want to keep these belts. I am pretty sure he (AJ) will be better. Of course I believe that my best beats his best, as a fighter we have to. Means a lot to me and for Mexico and for my family. This is what we fight for, our children, our country, our loved ones."

6:50PM

Whyte vs Wach - round three

Wach looking to get on the front foot, but not commandingly so, and Whyte tries to pick him off with a couple of overhand shots, not quite landing but tactically useful enough because it sends the message that Wach has to be wary.

Whyte warming to his work, his throwing rate higher in the middle minute of this round, and he's landing fairly consistently. Whyte in peak physical condition would be looking to swarm and overwhelm this but he's not in his best shape. Clear win in this round, though.

6:47PM

Whyte vs Wach - round two

Quieter round for these two, both looking like they are blowing a little, harder to score that one.

6:42PM

Whyte vs Wach - round one

Whyte with some good counters in this opening round - left hook on the counter. Lands as right hook as well later. Beefy body blow from Whyte. The taller Wach, looking to keep him at range but Whyte has long arms, for his height and a very good jab. I give that round to Dillian.

Whyte looks, what, 15 pounds over his best weight. He won't want this to go deep.

6:38PM

Whyte

271 pounds, 18 knockouts, a controversial but entertaining sportsman.

6:38PM

Whyte and Wach

about to get it on. Wach, the Pole, is 39.

6:35PM

Here he comes Dillian

Black robe, with 'El Toro Negro' in diamante on the back... fabulous... he's got plastic bags on his feet. Over his boots, I should say - to keep the rain off.

6:30PM

Dillian Whyte

says "I am looking to bring maximum violence and aggression".

He should also bring a stepladder.

Whyte

he and Mariusz Wach are coming out of their fight now.

6:24PM

And here comes Anthony Joshua

He was a bit delayed because the police escort took him the wrong way!

Anthony Joshua Credit: Sky Sports PPV

6:23PM

Robert McCracken, AJ's trainer

"He has trained really hard. Obviously it was hard getting over the loss. AJ has been more focused, more controlled, he has used his feet and his reach and that's what he has to do. He cannot get involved at mid range. Anthony has to dominate the centre of the ring, box behind his jab, get that jab working and get him lined up for the right."

6:21PM

Here comes Andy Ruiz

Andy Ruiz Jr Credit: Sky Sports PPV

6:20PM

George Groves

says "it is a different sort of atmosphere, it is raining and it is open air so a different atmosphere to normal, it is hard to say how many Brits are here because they are all in rain coats."

As for AJ and Andy: "Both of their lives changed forever with that last fight. He says that he is still hungry... well he could be at 20 stone."

6:14PM

Putting the fight in context

Here's Oliver Brown, who is in Saudi Arabia for us, with what the fight means in its broader social and politicla sporting context.

Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz might be a great occasion, but hype cannot mask concerns in a country of public executions

Good quotes from Eddie Hearn in there: " I was driving around the other day and I saw House of Fraser here. Go into the mall and you’ll see Gucci, Chanel, Starbucks. Major corporations are willing to trade here, but we can’t accept a deal to have a fight in the most brutal sport because of someone’s opinion on sportswashing?

6:11PM

Here's how it went down at the weigh-in

yesterday. AJ looked amazing. Ruiz looked... well, like a guy with a lovely personality and quick, hard hands.

4:07PM

Good evening

and welcome to our live blog of Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr. The main event will be on at around 9pm UK time, as we understand it, but in the meantime we have all the build-up, and also the undercard. Dillian Whyte vs Mariusz Wach should be a highlight of that, Whyte has served up some excellent fights in his time, including one against Anthony Joshua in 2015 where he landed a shot on AJ in round two that the big man didn't enjoy much, and winded him laster as well, but Joshua got it done in the end.

Joshua comes into this fight, of course, with questions about his tactical nous and his defensive abilities. I personally think he has proven his heart and courage when he came back after being floored by Vladimir Klitschko to win that career-high night. The career low, of course, was defeat to Andy Ruiz in June. Is AJ too easy to hit?

Watford man looking like a Greek god as per - this from the weigh in yesterday Credit: Valery Sharifulin\\TASS via Getty Images

At the weigh-in, AJ was 16 stone 13 and Ruiz was three pounds north of 20 stone, that's a stone more than he weighed when he beat AJ. I cannot see that's a good sign for Andy. But people learned to their cost that underestimating a man based on how he looks is a bad, bad idea. If you think you know how this is going to turn out, then we have some Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr free bets for ya.

Although you'll be doing well if you match Joshua's earnings for his night's work: apparently he is getting 70 million British pounds. Wowser. Ruiz walks away with a mere £13m, but that's still a massive, exponential increase on the coin he was making prior to his sensational triumph.

And here is the tale of the tape.