Classic heavyweight rematches as Anthony Joshua prepares to face Ruiz Jr again

By Mark Staniforth, PA Sport, Riyadh

Anthony Joshua will not be the first British heavyweight to engage in a world title rematch when he takes on Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Almost all top fighters in the division over the last half-century have been handed second chances.

Here the PA news agency examines the contrasting results.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Lennox Lewis v Hasim Rahman, Las Vegas, 2001

Lennox Lewis claimed quick revenge over Hasim Rahman (Nick Potts/PA)
Lennox Lewis claimed quick revenge over Hasim Rahman (Nick Potts/PA)

Seven months after losing his world heavyweight title in a stunning upset to Rahman in South Africa, Lewis reclaimed his title with the minimum of fuss. Having dominated the first three rounds against his opponent, Lewis unleashed a left-right combination which dumped Rahman to the canvas and won his belts back.

Lennox Lewis v Oliver McCall, Las Vegas, 1997

Lennox Lewis won a troubling rematch over Oliver McCall (Sean Dempsey/PA)
Lennox Lewis won a troubling rematch over Oliver McCall (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Having been knocked out in the second round of their first meeting almost three years previously, Lewis regained his WBC title in disconcerting fashion. McCall, who had been troubled by drug addiction in the intervening years, refused to engage and stumbled tearfully around the ring until referee Mills Lane disqualified the American in the fifth round.

Frank Bruno v Mike Tyson, Las Vegas, 1996

Frank Bruno suffered two painful beatings by Mike Tyson (Sean Dempsey/PA)
Frank Bruno suffered two painful beatings by Mike Tyson (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Since putting up a reasonable showing in his first fight with Tyson in 1989, Bruno had finally claimed the WBC title by beating McCall, while Tyson was on the comeback after serving time in prison. The rematch was a more one-sided affair, as Tyson pummelled the Briton before referee Lane stepped in early in round three.

Joe Bugner v Muhammad Ali, Kuala Lumpur, 1975

Joe Bugner (right) fought twice against Muhammad Ali (PA Archive)
Joe Bugner (right) fought twice against Muhammad Ali (PA Archive)

Despite dropping a decision to Ali two years earlier, a succession of wins over top contenders earned Bugner a second shot – this time for Ali’s world titles – in Malaysia. Ali won on points again, and Bugner was widely scorned for his defensive display, which the Briton claimed had been necessary to survive in the intense heat and humidity.

Henry Cooper v Muhammad Ali, London, 1965

Henry Cooper suffered two painful losses to Muhammad Ali (PA Archive)
Henry Cooper suffered two painful losses to Muhammad Ali (PA Archive)

Cooper claimed he was robbed of victory in their first meeting in 1963 when he floored Ali – then known as Cassius Clay – in round four but a delay in fetching a new pair of gloves gave his opponent time to recover. Ali was world champion by the time of their rematch two years later, and despite another brave bid by Cooper, cuts forced an end to the fight in round six.

What to read next