Welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of tonight’s keenly-anticipated second showdown between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.
The newly-built Diriyah Arena will have the eyes of the boxing world firmly locked on it tonight, as the ‘Clash On The Dunes’ comes to town.
AJ will attempt to win back the four heavyweight belts (WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO) he lost to the Mexican in stunning fashion at New York’s Madison Square Garden back in June.
Ruiz Jr ended Joshua’s 22-fight unbeaten run, but having gone into that bout as the massive underdog, tonight’s contest requires completely different mental preparation when you are the heavyweight champion of the world.
Ruiz Jr stunned onlookers yesterday when he weighed in at 15lbs heavier than the first bout.
We’ll bring you all the build-up to tonight’s big fight…
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 10
Ruiz is trying to lay traps for Joshua but so far the challenger is reading them.
That disciplined jab keeps him in control and it’s another round that goes his way.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 9
Joshua lands that jab early on but Ruiz is cranking up the pressure, forcing Joshua onto the backfoot.
AJ is creating the distance and lands a superb counter right! Ruiz looks to hold, where he has looked to land those damaging close range hooks, but the challenger has already slipped out of danger.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 8
Ruiz catches Joshua with a few rights to the body early on – and then catches his opponent on the back of the head. Joshua isn’t happy and words are exchanged before the referee separates them.
Ruiz finds that right to the body again as they resume and he closes the distance again and lands upstairs.
He is caught again and Joshua wobbles back – briefly, however, and skips out of danger.
Tony Bellew is scoring this 69-64 in Joshua’s favour at the moment.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 7
Joshua lands a couple of sweet left hooks early on and then goes back to work with that job, softening Ruiz up.
A short range right clips Ruiz and it sparks a close range scrap that Joshua wisely steps out of.
Joshua is making him miss a little more now.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 6
Ruiz snaps a nice counter shot around the side of Joshua’s head after eating a stiff uppercut – nice exchanges early on.
Ruiz lands a right to the body – again AJ takes it well and responds with a stiff jab upstairs again that draws a nod of appreciation out of the champion.
That jab has been superb across six rounds.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 5
Ruiz is still very fresh in there, picking his shots cleverly and landing one behind the ear of Joshua a minute in.
Joshua lands a right on the chin – Ruiz takes it well but it’s a clean shot that will impress the judges.
The most remarkable thing about Joshua’s performance so far – he has learned from the mistakes made in the Garden six months ago.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 4
This is the smartest Joshua has ever fought – not once has he been tempted to pile in and trade, making this the fight he wants to fight at his own pace.
Ruiz cranks up the pressure in the second-half of the round, however, forcing Joshua around the ring. The Briton eases the pressure with a stiff right over the top but Ruiz reacts superbly, catching him late on with Joshua definitely feeling that.
A worrying end to the round after such a bright start.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 3
Joshua is moving nicely in there, fleet-footed, skipping out of danger and taking his time.
Ruiz is quick, trying to close the distance with those quick jab combos, but Joshua is even quicker, popping out of danger before landing a beautiful hook the body late in the round.
So far, so (very) good from Joshua.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 2
Ruiz lands a hard double jab but Joshua throws another straight right that opens up that cut again.
Ruiz is dabbing at that wound – Joshua’s long jab and superior reach is causing problems and Joshua is exhibiting the patience he didn’t have in New York.
But Joshua is cut too! A clash of heads, maybe? Ruiz’s is looking a lot worse.
Joshua vs Ruiz | Round 1
Ruiz immediately tries to takes the centre of the ring, trying to get his jab going early on, pushing forward a lot earlier than he did back in New York.
A right to the body catches Joshua, but the Briton throws one back and proceeds to get his jab going effectively.
Joshua lands a right and blood is flowing from the champion! Superb start from AJ, patient and controlled.
Joshua vs Ruiz
A final touch of the gloves between the two.
HERE WE GO!
Michael Buffer is back on the mic to launch a fight like no one else can. You all know the words.
Mexican-American Ruiz will get two anthems – here comes the Mexican one.
Andy Ruiz is here – the US nation anthem rings out for him with the Mexican flag waving in the background.
Here comes the light show.
Joshua makes his way down to the ring – completely on his own. It’s a low-key entrance from what we have become accustomed to.
Here comes AJ – he makes his way to the ring as the challenger for the first time since 2016.
MICHAEL BUFFER IS HERE. It’s on.
‘Sweet Caroline’ is playing. We are officially on the final fight countdown.
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How to stream and watch on TV
Joshua vs Ruiz 2 will be live on Sky Sports Box Office.
UK customers can purchase the fight for £19.95 (€24.95 for those in the Republic of Ireland).
Those prices still apply to self-service bookings (remote control and online) made after that time, but telephone bookings are set at £24.95 (€29.95 ROI). Sky note that “an additional £2 booking fee if via an agent still applies”.