Boxing fans slam Sky as they get a blank screen for Anthony Joshua fight10 min read

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British Boxing fans were left furious last night as Anthony Joshua regained his world heavyweight titles by beating Andy Ruiz Jr – because they couldn’t even watch it.

The Clash in the Dunes rematch between the pair was expected to be a UK box office record with 1.5 million paying viewers tuning in, but dozens of fans who bought access to the match couldn’t get into their accounts while others described the screen quality as ‘slow’ and ‘shocking’.

Unable to get a hold of the company’s customer service team due to the ’45-minute wait’, customers took to twitter to express their anger over the £24.95 TV ticket price.

‘Terrible streaming service tonight. Definitely not worth the £25! I didn’t even receive a confirmation email. What is the email for complaints,’ commented Emily Pearson.

Rhiannon shared a picture of her account page reporting ‘technical difficulties’, adding: ‘Paid for it and money has come out of account but getting this come up on the screen.’ 

James Dama added: ‘Ordered on the phone, and indeed got a blue screen. On remote I get this. When I call the number it’s a 45 min wait. Can I just avoid watching it via sky and get a refund on my bill?’

AJ unanimously thrashed Andy Ruiz Jr in the no-holds-barred revenge match for last summer’s humiliating knockout to the Mexican ’20-stone no-hoper’. 

After his convincing victory – confirmed by the judges after the bout went the full 12 rounds – Joshua was presented with the IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA belts that Ruiz stripped him of a few months ago. 

Yet while high-octane drama unfolded in the ring, thousands of fans packed into the open-air stadium had their night spoiled by giant orange pillars blocking their view.

Anthony Joshua survived a desert storm to wrest back his world heavyweight titles with a unanimous points win on Saturday

Anthony Joshua survived a desert storm to wrest back his world heavyweight titles with a unanimous points win on Saturday

Anthony Joshua has regained his world heavyweight titles after unanimously thrashing Andy Ruiz Jr in a no-holds-barred revenge of last summer's humiliating knockout to the Mexican '20-stone no-hoper'

Anthony Joshua has regained his world heavyweight titles after unanimously thrashing Andy Ruiz Jr in a no-holds-barred revenge of last summer’s humiliating knockout to the Mexican ’20-stone no-hoper’

The British boxer blitzed his opponent with a flurry of jabs early on before clattering him with a massive eye-splitting punch to the face

The British boxer blitzed his opponent with a flurry of jabs early on before clattering him with a massive eye-splitting punch to the face 

Photographs of the ring show many seats will have an obstructed view because of four huge pillars which is supporting a canopy

Photographs of the ring show many seats will have an obstructed view because of four huge pillars which is supporting a canopy

The heavens opened earlier above the outdoor stadium in Saudi Arabia, forcing soggy spectators to throw on ponchos

The heavens opened earlier above the outdoor stadium in Saudi Arabia, forcing soggy spectators to throw on ponchos

Despite forking out thousands of pounds to watch the highly-anticipated bout in a new purpose-built stadium, spectators were left dismayed after arriving to see their seats behind the pillars.

The 15,000-seat Diriyah Arena was put up in just two months and will be torn down after the fight, which was also dampened by bad weather.

The heavens opened earlier above the outdoor stadium, forcing soggy spectators to throw on their ponchos in he middle of the desert. 

Blood trickled down cheek of Ruiz after the first few rounds following a colossal right hand from Joshua.  

Ruiz’s June win in New York was a huge upset, with few predicting the thickset underdog who was parachuted in to fight at the last minute would triumph over the then undefeated Joshua.  

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Confirmation of Joshua’s win was greeted with roars of approval from a capacity 16,000 crowd in the purpose-built venue in the ancient Saudi capital, which was hosting a major title fight for the first time. 

Photographs of the ring show many seats had obstructed view because of four huge pillars which is supporting a canopy that protects the two fighters from the elements. 

Only 75 per cent of tickets are believed to have been sold and around 2,500 British boxing fans expected to attend.

Anthony Joshua arrives in the open-air stadium in Saudi Arabia for his crunch heavyweight title fight with Andy Ruiz Jr

Anthony Joshua arrives in the open-air stadium in Saudi Arabia for his crunch heavyweight title fight with Andy Ruiz Jr

Blood trickled down cheek of Ruiz after the first few rounds following a colossal right hand from Joshua

Blood trickled down cheek of Ruiz after the first few rounds following a colossal right hand from Joshua

Joshua, wearing white gloves and white shorts, came out swinging and unloaded fists into Ruiz who looked unsteady in the opening rounds

Joshua, wearing white gloves and white shorts, came out swinging and unloaded fists into Ruiz who looked unsteady in the opening rounds

Both men are 30, but Joshua's physical attributes are more impressive. His 6ft 6 frame dwarfs Ruiz's 6ft 2 figure, which is almost 50lbs heavier

Both men are 30, but Joshua’s physical attributes are more impressive. His 6ft 6 frame dwarfs Ruiz’s 6ft 2 figure, which is almost 50lbs heavier

The London fighter will earn in excess of £60million for the chance to reclaim the title he lost to Ruiz in June

The London fighter will earn in excess of £60million for the chance to reclaim the title he lost to Ruiz in June

Anthony Joshua delivers boxing masterclass to beat Andy Ruiz Jnr by unanimous points decision and regain WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight titles 

By Jeff Powell for the Mail On Sunday 

Anthony Joshua survived a desert storm to wrest back his world heavyweight titles with a unanimous points win over Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arena.

Joshua stuck to his back-foot game plan to pick off a clear 118-110 (twice), 119-109 verdict in a bout that boasted little of the five-knockdown drama which saw him lose to Ruiz in June.

In a bout which had been threatened with delay by a rare desert rain-storm moments before they took to the ring, the champion banked almost entirely on landing another big left money-shot.

Second time round, a more composed and disciplined Joshua for the most part resisted the urge to join Ruiz in battle, and there was no doubt as to the clear winner once the bell ended the final round.

Confirmation of Joshua’s win was greeted with roars of approval from a capacity 16,000 crowd in the purpose-built venue in the ancient Saudi capital, which was hosting a major title fight for the first time.

Joshua survived a desert storm to wrest back his world heavyweight titles with a unanimous points win on Saturday

Joshua survived a desert storm to wrest back his world heavyweight titles with a unanimous points win on Saturday

The fast hands of Ruiz rocked his opponent twice in the eighth round to slightly change the complexion of the fight

The fast hands of Ruiz rocked his opponent twice in the eighth round to slightly change the complexion of the fight

Ruiz Jnr was frustrated by the tactics of Joshua but there was always the threat of him unleashing a big shot

Ruiz Jnr was frustrated by the tactics of Joshua but there was always the threat of him unleashing a big shot

Joshua moved so much better without the muscle bulk and it appeared to be going according to plan in first half of the fight

Joshua moved so much better without the muscle bulk and it appeared to be going according to plan in first half of the fight

After all the speculation about his weight, Ruiz looked only a little heavier than before. The leaner Joshua was moving better and was winning the first with his jab before he clinched the round with the first big right of the night.

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The smattering of British fans did their best to make themselves heard as Joshua came to the ring but this a mere whisper of the Wembley roar. The 02, even. The Saudis took sides and away we went. 

Ruiz had been cut beside the left eye by that Joshua right and as the blood seeped the wound became a target for the left jab. But Ruiz finally uncorked a right of his own and now Joshua was cut also by the left eye.  

Joshua was moving so much better without the muscle bulk and boxing according to plan. Jab, move, another round in the bag. 

JEFF POWELL’S SCORECARD
RUIZ JNR  ROUND JOSHUA
9 1 10
9 2 10
9 3 10
10 4 9
9 5 10 
9 6 10
9 7 10 
10 8  9
9 9  10 
`10  10 
11 10 
12 10
110 TOTAL 118

Ruiz working to close distance and although he was caught by a hefty right and left from Joshua he finished on the two fisted assault to wiin his first round on my card.

The jab-plan was working well for Joshua and that weapon opened the Ruiz cut again. 

Confidence was growing in AJ in the sixth and dancing a la Ali. Frustration for Ruiz and a long lead now for Joshua.

Joshua opened up with a couple of big rights in the seventh and the chant of AJ, AJ, filled the desert night. 

It’s hardly a thriller but if Joshua keeps boxing like this he will comfortably and without fuss or commotion unless he goes knock-out hunting. Which he is suddenly tempted to do and is punished for his troubled. Ruiz rocks him twice to change the complexion of the fight slightly and trainer Rob McCracken screams at him from the corner to go back to the basics.

It’s a procession now. He’s toying with the Mexican who shocked the world just six months ago 

Same old, same old. Ruiz chasing. Joshua picking him off expertly and throwing in a bit of jab and hold to go with the jab and run to eke up the time.

And so to what should be the lap of honour…..on his toes…a little flurry of excitement at the finale. Thank you Riyadh and goodnight. 

Clash On The Dunes. They should have called it Desert Storm III.

After a week of sun-kissed days and moonlit nights, it rained on the evening parade of the Saudis from central Riyadh to the ancient ruined city of Diriyah.

Never mind the Kingdom’s propaganda called sports-washing. Nature took care of the cleansing process. At least superficially.

It never rains but it pours in the desert. The first large splashes were the prelude to electric storms. As the clouds burst and the skies lit up was it a worrying omen for AJ?

Joshua opened up with a couple of big rights in the seventh and the chant of AJ, AJ, filled the desert night

Joshua opened up with a couple of big rights in the seventh and the chant of AJ, AJ, filled the desert night

Joshua mixed it up nicely on the backfoot early on, the jab a key weapon in controlling the distance between the rivals

Joshua mixed it up nicely on the backfoot early on, the jab a key weapon in controlling the distance between the rivals

Joshua suffered a cut above his left eye after an accidental clash of heads in an enthralling second round

Joshua suffered a cut above his left eye after an accidental clash of heads in an enthralling second round

The eagerly-anticipated rematch toook place in Diriyah in a custom-built 15,000 seater stadium on Saturday night

The eagerly-anticipated rematch toook place in Diriyah in a custom-built 15,000 seater stadium on Saturday night

Fans were forced to wear waterproof ponchos to shelter from the rain fell before the fight but it failed to dampen their spirits

Fans were forced to wear waterproof ponchos to shelter from the rain fell before the fight but it failed to dampen their spirits

Was lightning going to strike twice? Would Ruiz send another paralysing bolt through Joshua here in this rematch, as he had done to take over most of the world heavyweight titles in New York this summer?

The downpour came and went, came again and went again in the hours before the big fight itself. There was a canopy over the ring to protect the fighters from the worst of it but for most of those in attendance it was a case of reaching for the opaque plastic ponchos distributed in haste.

Shouldn’t we have gone to Cardiff, after all?

When you build a 16,000-seat arena in less than two months there is no time to put on a roof. Even if these oil-rich sponsors who had already invested upwards of $200 million dollars in this event had really wanted to spend yet more on a temporary structure which they will start demolishing not long after this one-ring circus leaves town.

The flower buds which sprout through the sands the instant they are wet, only to disappear just as suddenly when the sun rises, will have to be quick if they are to be gone before the stadium itself is distributed to all corners of Arabia.

Starting with the removal of the ring to a palace of one of the royal princes. A nice souvenir if you can get it.

Nice work, too, for Joshua and Ruiz at $85 million and $13 million respectively.

Mercifully, their entrance came apres le deluge.

With an unusual show of patriotic loyalty the London bookmakers kept faith with Joshua as favourite even though the majority of substantial betting was on Ruiz. Both men looked tense when pictures beamed onto the giant screens from their dressing rooms as they were having their hands wrapped.

The loudest cheers so far from what appeared to be a full house greeted the arrival of some of the Middle East’s UFC favourites.

Boxing is in its comparative infancy in Saudi Arabia and much in need of Joshua and Ruiz to supply a thriller.

Moments before the bell a ramrod right-hand from Joshua opened a cut at the side of Ruiz's left eye in the first round

Moments before the bell a ramrod right-hand from Joshua opened a cut at the side of Ruiz’s left eye in the first round

Confirmation of Joshua's win was greeted with roars of approval from a capacity 16,000 crowd in the purpose-built venue in the ancient Saudi capital, which was hosting a major title fight for the first time

Confirmation of Joshua’s win was greeted with roars of approval from a capacity 16,000 crowd in the purpose-built venue in the ancient Saudi capital, which was hosting a major title fight for the first time

The challenger looked on edge as he entered the ring, well aware that this was the most important single fight of his career

The challenger looked on edge as he entered the ring, well aware that this was the most important single fight of his career