Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr. has stunned the boxing world with a seventh round knockout of the previously undefeated British champion Anthony Joshua.
In a fight that will live long in the annals of sporting history, both men exploded into action in the third round. First Joshua dropped Ruiz for an eight count early, then was floored twice after a couple of big right hands by Ruiz.
From then on Ruiz was in total control, looking for his opportunity to strike. Patiently, he held off till the seventh round, then let rip again with an overhand right. This rocked Joshua, exposing his chin which Ruiz then targeted with a heavy straight right. That blow was enough to send Joshua to his knees for a third and final time, with the referee waving off the contest shortly after.
Joshua was magnanimous in defeat, embracing Ruiz and clearly admitting that the better fighter had won. It also showed that looking the part is only going to get you so far. Much has been made of Joshua’s seemingly perfect physique, while Ruiz is what you could politely call a very unathletic figure, looking every bit a man who weighs in around 122 kgs.
To say this was a massive upset is a gross understatement. Joshua held the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles going into the fight, and had only really been put to task once in his 22-fight career, by the legendary Vitali Klitschko. Last year, he comfortably defeated New Zealand’s Joseph Parker to take his WBO title.
Ruiz, on the other hand, had lost to Parker back in 2017 in a highly contentious points decision. He’d only signed on for this fight in April, as a replacement for Jarel Miller, who failed a drugs test. While the Parker fight was the only loss of his 30-fight career, his record of opponents wasn’t regarded as high quality enough to trouble Joshua.
However, no one is in any doubt about the 29-year-old Ruiz now. The win has completely changed the landscape of the heavyweight division, with all roads before seemingly pointing to a massive showdown between Joshua and American Deontay Wilder. That’s now firmly on hold, with the titles being transferred to Ruiz.
This could also have serious implications for Parker, who has just signed a three-fight deal with British promoters Matchroom Boxing. Now that Joshua is on the comeback trail, he may well find himself in line for a lucrative rematch.
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