Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr
Heavyweight boxer Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the sporting world on June 1st at Madison Square Garden when he defeated WBA Super, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. The fight went just seven rounds before Ruiz was declared the winner thanks to a TKO.
Joshua had been unstoppable prior to the bout with many claiming him to be the best heavyweight boxer of the last decade. In one fell swoop, Joshua lost his title belts in one of the biggest boxing upsets in the sport’s history.
Joshua went into the Madison Square Garden fight with a 22-0 record. It was his first bout in the United States and many expected it would increase the fighter’s profile to a new audience.
Joshua started his professional career in 2013 with a TKO win over Italian Emanuele Leo. The English fighter already had plenty of eyes on him. He won gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games. It concluded a brilliant amateur career for Joshua that he parlayed into the professional ranks.
Ruiz was never supposed to be in the ring with Joshua in Madison Square Garden. The American-born Mexican fighter was a last-minute replacement for Jarrell Miller, who was ruled ineligible to fight Joshua. Ruiz took a 32-1 record into the biggest fight of his career and scored a major upset.
Prior to winning the WBA Super, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight belts from Joshua, Ruiz had won minor championships which included the NABF Heavyweight championship and the WBO Inter-Continental belt.
In the aftermath of Ruiz’s win over Joshua, he has been ranked as one of the top three heavyweights in the world by the premier boxing rankings organizations: Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, BoxRec, and The Ring magazine.
Joshua put his four belts on the line against Ruiz. The two fought for the WBA Super, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight belts. Joshua had been collecting those belts over the last seven and a half years.
The Englishman’s first title win came in October 2011 when he defeated Denis Bakhtov with a second round TKO. Joshua was awarded the WBC International Heavyweight title on that occasion after just his ninth win.
Nearly two years later, Joshua began collecting more titles as he pushed his record to 14-0 with a win over Gary Cornish for the British Commonwealth belt.
In March 2018, Joshua won the WBO Heavyweight title from Joseph Parker. Coincidentally, Parker had defeated Ruiz in 2016 to win the WBO Heavyweight belt, which was vacant at the time.
Although Ruiz had a 32-1 record prior to his fight with Joshua, he wasn’t considered one of the elite boxers in the sport. Ruiz was a replacement for Miller and wasn’t seen as a top contender to Joshua.
Ruiz did sign a contract with promotor Al Haymon in January 2019, which looks to have improved his chances of gaining big fights. The American-born Mexican fighter has become known for his quick hands and relentless style, which could have put big name fighters off of stepping into the ring with him.
Joshua went into the Madison Square Garden fight as one of the top three fighters in the world. Many considered Joshua to be the best with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury as second and third. There had been plans to book fights with Joshua versus Wilder and Joshua against Fury in the future. Those bouts could be in jeopardy due to Joshua’s loss.
Ruiz took Jarrell Miller's place just one month prior to the fight at Madison Square Garden. Jarrell failed three PED drug tests and was unable to get a license in the state of New York, which opened the door for Ruiz. Joshua’s camp may have taken Ruiz lightly. There is an argument that Joshua didn’t have adequate time to prepare for Ruiz but there is little the Englishman can do now after losing in such a shocking fashion.
The incredibly long odds would have been taken by few professional bettors as Joshua’s track record indicated little in the way of defeat. According to Business Insider, Ruiz’s family members bet on the fighter to win at 11/1 odds. Ruiz’s family put a $1,000 bet on the fighter to win and each won nearly $10,000 once it was split.
The two fighters battled into the seventh round where Ruiz knocked Joshua down for a third and fourth time in the bout. Ruiz had fought well and scored points when he put Joshua on the canvas twice in the third round.
He did it again in the seventh round which prompted the match referee to stop the fight. Two of the three ringside judges had Ruiz ahead on points when the bout was stopped.
Ruiz “punched a golden ticket” when he signed on to fight Joshua. The fighter earned $7 million from his night in the ring with the Englishman. Meanwhile, the defeated champion earned around $25m.
The $25m figure, however, was what Joshua was expected to make against Miller and is not yet confirmed.
Joshua’s fight purses had been on a steady incline. His previous big fight against Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017, bagged the Englishman $19m.
According to promotor Bob Arum, Joshua will “never be the same again”. That could be true as his loss to Ruiz may hurt the Englishman’s drawing power. No longer is he the force he was once perceived as being.
The two heavyweights are expected to lock horns once more in November or December. A definite date is still waiting to be confirmed. A clause in the contract enables Joshua to gain a rematch, which looks likely to take place before the end of the year. That means neither man will have time to fight another boxer.
Joshua-Ruiz II could take place at Madison Square Garden once more. It had previously been expected to happen in the United Kingdom.
One thing is for sure for Joshua-Ruiz II and that is Ruiz won’t be taken lightly by anyone head of the fight.
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