On the night when rain and wind spat and scudded across Saudi Arabian desert, Anthony Joshua whipped up a minor storm of his own to win back his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles from Andy Ruiz Jr.
In their first encounter in June, the Mexican-American had been able to disrupt the validity of boxing’s oldest and most indomitable laws – that a good big fighter usually beats a good smaller one – by stopping Joshua in seven.
This time the tables were turned as the Briton used his eight-inch reach advantage and improved footwork to much better effect to claim a wide points victory.
Joshua remained unperturbed and kept pawing out his jab, which was acting almost as a praetorian guard for his chin. He probably took the third but in the fourth Ruiz finally got much closer to his man and landed several times – including on the back of the head.
Earlier in the week Joshua, who earned around £60m from the fight, was warned that he was being duped by a Saudi regime that was using it to sportswash its reputation. He will continue to face criticism from human rights groups. But with so much in the bank, and with three world titles back around his waist, he will hardly care.