Check out live results from Ruiz-Joshua 2 as it goes down in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia for Matchroom Boxing’s Clash on the Dunes
The main attraction today in Diriyah, Saudia Arabia at the brand new Diriyah Arena is the mega-clash of the Clash on the Dunes. We’ll get to defending Heavyweight unified champion Andy Ruiz’ first title defense versus Anthony Joshua – the previous owner of the IBF, WBA, WBO crowns.
Until then we’ll run down the outcomes of the Heavyweight laden undercard which features big names like Dillian Whyte, American Michael Hunter, Filip Hrgovic, veteran Alexander Povetkin and newcomer Mahammadrasul Majidov.
Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs) vs Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs)
Anthony Joshua opened the fight moving impressively. He flashed the jab, touched the champion Andy Ruiz Jr. to the body, and then mixed in some right hands. One of the right hands cut Ruiz over the final minute. Joshua looked to move in briefly, but stayed composed for another three minutes.
Into the second Joshua stuck with the jab. He opened the cut up after a quick 1-2 combination. Joshua’s confidence increased, but he surfaced with blood around his left eye after the two got close for an exchange.
Ruiz kept his back foot near the center of the ring as he tracked the taller Joshua around the outer portion of the ring. Joshua’s guard was back up in the third round as he circled and stepped back to stay out of range and remain comfortable. As he returned to his corner he looked content with his discipline to a well-laid plan of attack.
Ruiz moved inside in the first minute of round four, but Joshua clinched him and stalled out any attack, awaiting referee Luis Pabon to reset the action. Just before the final minute Joshua missed with a big right hand but quickly moved out before a counter of any kind. Both men unleashed shots over the final minute as Ruiz worked his way inside after Joshua connected with a couple of hooks.
Joshua jabbed over the first minute in the fifth round, and grabbed Ruiz at the champion’s first attack. Joshua stood with Ruiz in the middle of the ring later in the round, but his movement and jab nullified most of Ruiz’ offense.
Both men landed blows early in the sixth round. Joshua moved outside again and kept his left hand in Ruiz’ face. Suddenly, Joshua switched a lazy left hand into a snapping hook that found its mark.
Joshua snapped off another left hook in the first minute of round seven. Afterwards Joshua circled to his left and right, briefly got in trouble throwing a shot, but grabbed Ruiz before being made to pay for his attempt. Moments later he stood with his left hand down again. He made it out the round without Ruiz capitalizing on the opening.
The two tapped gloves over the first minute of round eight. Ruiz started to bull his way inside shortly after. The champion worked his way in and connected with a few of his best shots in a couple of rounds, and almost slipped off of Joshua to extend his attacks. That almost created the types of moments where Ruiz found his best openings in the first fight.
Ruiz did slip out of a Joshua clinch in the ninth round, and he touched Joshua a couple of times while the opportunity presented itself. Blood flowed from Ruiz’ left eye again. Joshua scored with another right hook, left upper cut.
Ruiz landed a right hand over the top in the opening of the 10th round. Joshua was caught within range and upright. Joshua stood with Ruiz in the center again, but poked Ruiz with a pair of stiff left jabs. Shortly after Ruiz slipped out of another clinch and had Joshua in danger briefly. The challenger backed out, circled around some more and dropped his guard completely just seconds before the bell rang.
The fight moved into the championship rounds and Ruiz pressed forward while Joshua circled around, left and right, with a look of focus on his face. The challenger played it safe, moving and jabbing to avoid any spirited rally by the champion.
The fight’s winner was obvious into the 12th and final round. The question became whether Joshua would risk his lead to go for a stoppage, or really hurt the man who dropped him four times back in June. Joshua stepped in and planted a big right hand on the champion’s chin. Ruiz’ shook it off and resumed fighting. Ruiz failed to corner the challenger again the remainder of the round, and received another big right hand with about 20 seconds to go. He then challenged to Joshua to step to him for the final moments of their rematch – Joshua didn’t oblige.
The judges saw the fight a unanimous decision for Joshua with scores of 118-110 on two cards and 119-109. Joshua’s performance may not be what some desired, but for a man with seemingly an entire career to lose, it’ll just have to do for December 7, 2019. The now two-time champion did show some new wrinkles that could bode well for him in future defenses. Even at Heavyweight, a KO is not the only way to get a W.
Alexander Povetkin (35-2, 24 KOs) vs Michael Hunter (18-1, 12 KOs)
Former Cruiserweight Hunter specifically requested Povetkin immediately after his victory over Sergey Kuzmin in September. In the opening exchange of the first round Hunter reiterated his desire to meet, and defeat, the veteran Russian. He did wear a Predator mask during his ring walk, and when did you ever see the Predator waste time with platitudes?
Povetkin weathered the early on rush from the younger Hunter.
The 40-year old got out the blocks in the second round, but Hunter slipped under a looping shot and caught him with a right hand that drove Povetkin a few steps back into the ropes. Towards the close of the second frame Povetkin caught Hunter with a hook that snapped back the Las Vegas-based fighter’s head. Hunter flashed a quick smile.
Povetkin started to settle into the fight more in the third round. He landed a left hook on the right side of Hunter’s body, and the youngster held his elbow there a second before continuing on. With each second he appeared to become the test Hunter was looking forward to taking. Hunter clipped Povetkin at the bell.
Hunter ran into the test’s hardest question in the middle of the fifth round. Povetkin bulled forward behind a series of left hooks and knocked Hunter backwards into the ropes.
Hunter circled and jabbed through most of the subsequent round. Povetkin lunged forward with well-timed punches to Hunter’s body. Overall, the round was fairly balanced.
As the fight moved into the seventh round Hunter started to jab to the body and feature his boxing. Povetkin increasingly looked like the fighter with more answers than questions. Hunter erupted in the final minute, but Povetkin landed a sharp right hook inside that snapped Hunter’s head.
Both men competed well over the next three rounds, with Hunter experiencing some highs and lows with overcoming Povetkin’s experience. Each fighter landed his share of quality shots, but neither man was able to handily control long stretches of the fight. Signs of respect and good sportsmanship were regularly exchanged.
In the 11th Hunter erupted for one of the fight’s biggest flurries in several rounds. Povetkin looked like he was both fatigued and hurt. The fireworks were triggered by a Hunter right hand, once into the ropes he crashed the side of Povetkin’s body with a booming left hook.
The 31-year old American opened the 12th round moving slowly, and Povetkin landed a shot inside before a clinch that seemed to stun Hunter. Moments later the two got tangled up and Povetkin toppled down on top of Hunter who was flat on his back. With both fighters battling the effects of the exchanges and fatigue, the final round came to a close without many distinguishable moments.
Suspense set in – following 12 well-contested rounds of Heavyweight action – as the fighters’ gloves were being removed, but the cards finally declared the bout a split draw – 115-113, 115-113, and 114-114.
Dillian Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs) vs Mariusz Wach (35-5, 19 KOs)
Whyte entered this fight, a return bout of sorts, after being cleared by the UK Anti-Doping agency of any wrongdoing in his victory over Oscar Rivas in July. He didn’t use the time, with the future of his career in limbo, to sharpen up his body.
The two exchanged punches through the first two opening rounds, working to establish where they intended to fight their fight. For two bigger heavyweights, fighting on short notice, the respective work rates were respectable.
Wach stepped up his aggression by landing heavier power punches in rounds four and five. Whyte’s immobility didn’t capture one’s imagination with regards to his chances in the marquee fight he desires, but action for tonight’s bout was entertaining. Whyte did provide he can take good solid Heavyweight shots, and return good fire in the form of his rapid left hook to the body.
Into the seventh round Wach’s issue became the fact that couldn’t hurt Whyte badly with one shot, and nor was he able to land powerful punches in a different manner. Whyte often stood still in the center of the ring, but fought confidently tucked behind his left shoulder, and responded with enough power to maintain Wach’s respect.
In the eighth round Whyte moved his right glove diagonally across his upper torso and underneath his chin – defending himself with his guard more so than movement. Wach continued to move forward poking his jab through Whyte’s guard while mixing in some right hands. Whyte had his own bursts of power, but looked to basically score with Wach.
Whyte opened round nine flat-footed, unleashing hooks to Wach’s body. Wach fired back with long right hands over the top. Whyte fired shots to Wach’s head to close the round, defensively he started parrying some of Wach’s shots during combinations.
Wach’s right hand remained hot through the first half of the 10th and final round. For the final minute Whyte moved off of the ropes and walked to Wach with uppercuts and hooks. By reversing Wach’s late momentum, Whyte disrupted the Polish giant’s final rally to stop a Heavyweight regarded as one of the division’s top contenders.
The decision was 98-93, and 97-93 on two cards for a unanimous decision for Whyte. With his name officially cleared, now we’ll see whether a championship fight materializes for Whyte, or whether he’ll continue in the same holding pattern as the Heavyweight division’s other 7-8 hopefuls.
Filip Hrgovic (9-0, 7 KOs) vs Eric Molina (27-5, 19 KOs)
Opponents like veteran Eric Molina play an integral role i the development of prospects like the undefeated Filip Hrgovic. Hrgovic needs live action to showcase his offense and perfect his defense as he attempts to work his way into fights against the division’s champions.
Hrgovic attempted to find Molina’s chin to land shots legally. However, Molina’s best approach to a victory for himself involved tactics that hid his chin, but often presented the sides and back of his head. Hrgovic gradually began hitting what he could hit.
Hrgovic dropped Molina towards the end of round two for the fight’s first official knockdown. Hrgovic had problems with connecting flush with his powerful right hands because of Molina’s constant positioning and anticipation. Molina stood his ground at times, attempted to land some wild right hands of his on, but a Hrgovic flurry brought the bout to a close in round three at 2:03. The win is Hrgovic’s 10th victory, and he moves on to conquer the next challenger. Afterwards the Croatian expressed his belief that a world title shot is realistic in the next 2-3 fights.
In the opening bout, Mahammadrasul Majidov earned his first professional victory with a dominant performance versus Tom Little (10-8, 3 KOs) that ended inside the distance.
Featured image by Ian Walton/Matchroom Boxing