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Sunday Life

Carl Frampton: AJ had the gift of jab as Ruiz was left fighting the flab

Anthony Joshua, right, fought Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh at the weekend (Hassan Ammar/AP)
Anthony Joshua, right, fought Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh at the weekend (Hassan Ammar/AP)

By Carl Frampton

Anthony Joshua reclaimed the IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles last weekend and it was a night that demonstrated the difference between someone who has a champion's mentality and someone who doesn't.

Joshua knew he had to make changes in order to beat Ruiz in their rematch in Saudi Arabia after that bad defeat in New York in June, and he did. It was a top-class, highly-disciplined performance and he proved how mentally strong he really is.

Going straight back into the rematch with Ruiz was not a smart move according to some and I can understand why they felt that because Joshua had to deal with the demons of the last fight and put everything right. His champion's mindset made sure he stuck to the game plan and he just boxed the head off Ruiz who had clearly rested on his laurels, coming in a stone heavier than in the first fight.

Frankly, the shape and condition he came into the fight in was disgraceful. He had the chance to prove he was a true champion and for his earning potential to go through the roof and he blew it. When he weighed in with his track bottoms on I thought he was playing games and had put weights in his pockets but it turned out that he just had an extra roll of flab from all the eating he had done in between fights.

In contrast, Joshua had lost weight so he could be sharper on his feet and box the way he needed to against a guy who just wanted to have a brawl so he could do the same as what he did in Madison Square Garden. Also, credit to Joshua for not making any excuses after his loss to Ruiz - it was only after he got his revenge that he suggested he was not well going into the first bout.

Ruiz has been described as a boxing hippie and that probably sums him up best. It's just a job for him, there is no real passion and obsession to be the best in the division and then you have a champion like Joshua who was desperate to be back at the heavyweight summit.

People have said that Ruiz was a late replacement and only had a short camp for their first fight but that's not the case. Ruiz had beaten Alexander Dimitrenko at the end of April and eight weeks later was in with Joshua. It was still like a Rocky story when he stopped Joshua but he has tainted his legacy because he just didn't care. He was happy with earning around $20m and disrespected the greatest prize in sport.

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Ruiz is under the promotional banner of PBC and it's interesting that they allowed him to go ahead and fight Joshua, while they did the deal for Deontay Wilder to face Tyson Fury. They could have held off to see if Ruiz would beat Joshua again and then had a unification fight but clearly didn't really believe in him.

Ruiz has blown a golden opportunity that every fighter dreams about and Joshua has taken advantage. However, we are still left wondering who the No.1 heavyweight on the planet is.

Joshua, Wilder and Tyson Fury can all lay claim to being the top man in the division and hopefully we will get a unified champion in 2020.

Belfast Telegraph


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