• Emily Prescott

The Sunday Times: Anthony Joshua reclaims his heavyweight titles in Andy Ruiz rematch

The British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua was celebrating a £60m payday last night after reclaiming his world titles in a rematch against Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua, 30, who lost the titles to the Mexican in New York in June, scored a unanimous points decision. He had weighed in at three stone less than the flabby Ruiz and used his reach advantage and improved footwork to good effect, never looking in any trouble.

As his fans in the specially built 15,000-seat arena in Diriyah chanted “AJ! AJ! AJ!”, Joshua became one of only three fighters to regain their titles in a direct rematch.

Joshua is now in line to fight either fellow Briton Tyson Fury or the American Deontay Wilder, contests that had been derailed by his surprise defeat in June.

He said after last night’s fight: “I’m a man that has made mistakes and when I was on the losing path in life, I matured and bounced back.

“After I took my loss I had to mature as a fighter. Life is in boxing and that is why I love it because they go hand in hand.”

Ruiz admitted: “It was his night. I didn’t prepare how I should have. I gained too much weight. I don’t want to give excuses, he won.”

Joshua, who grew up on a council estate in Watford and received a suspended sentence for possessing cannabis in his twenties, took up boxing only at the age of 18. He won Olympic gold in London in 2012 before turning professional, and created a sensation with his 2017 victory over Vladimir Klitschko.

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