It took seven rounds for Andy Ruiz, Jr. to shock the world.
The unassuming heavyweight lived up to his pseudonym, “The Destroyer” taking Anthony Joshua’s aura of invincibility with him. Ruiz, Jr. captured Joshua’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO World Heavyweight Championship titles in a thrilling upset that ended by technical knockout in the seventh round.
The clash happened in front of a sold out crowd of 20,201 at Madison Square Garden and live on DAZN.
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Ruiz, Jr. started off strong showing Joshua little respect and bringing it to him on the inside. Joshua, having felt the power, didn’t let his hands go as much in early respect to the Mexican’s power.
However, in a table-turning moment, Joshua landed a combo that floored Ruiz in the third round. Ruiz got up off the canvas and dug deep returning the favor and sending Joshua to the canvas with a flurry.
Joshua took seven seconds to get off the canvas and looking dazed on wobbly legs, Ruiz smelled blood until Joshua was saved by the bell.
The seventh round spelled danger for the champion as Ruiz sent him to the canvas a staggering three more times. At the last one, Joshua went to the corner and after being asked by the referee during the count if he wanted to continue, did not seem there.
The referee called off the action after Joshua places his hands on the ropes and appeared to quit.
“That was my first time getting dropped on the floor. It just made me stronger. It just made me want it more. I just had to knock him down back.
“It’s because of the Mexican warrior I am, I have that Mexican blood in me. Talking about the Mexican fighting style, I just proved it.”
The Heavyweight Grand Prix
The defeat rearranged the battle of positioning between the top three heavyweights in the world. WBC Champion Deontay Wilder, who recently announced two confirmed matchups with Luiz Ortiz and Tyson Fury was criticized heavily for not making a match with Joshua.
Apparently, Wilder made the right bet on the two challengers that gave him the most in-ring trouble during his career.
“AJ got sloppy. It was a beautiful combination in the third round,” said Matchroom Boxing Managing Director Eddie Hearn. “He was in total control of the fight but he got sloppy and never recovered. Listen, tonight was his night but AJ will come back 100% and we will make the rematch in the U.K. in November or December.
“But this night now belongs to Andy Ruiz, he made history in the heavyweight division tonight. IT will go down in history as a very big one. AJ has the heart of a lion and will come back stronger. Now at least we know the opponent for the end of the year in the U.K. Absolutely we will enact the immediate rematch. He will be devastated when it sinks in. It makes the fall fight a must win.”
The upset throws a wrench in the global takeover of DAZN star Anthony Joshua. Supposed paid over $100 million by the streaming service, Joshua and Canelo Alvarez have been the face of the company.
Every single one of these champions is on the hit list. Let me remind you that I only have 1 debatable loss on my record. Truth is I’m the best kept secret in heavyweight boxing. I haven’t stepped in the ring with a fighter who can match my speed and power. Not many know who I am yet. But the ones that do know won’t sign contracts to fight because of the huge RISK versus Reward I represent. They can’t avoid me forever. #andyruizjr #heavyweightboxing #boxing #deontaywilder #bigbabymiller #tysonfury #anthonyjoshua #josephparker #trboxing #showtimeboxing #pbcboxing #anybodycangetit #patience #determintation #motivation #floatlikeabutterflystinglikeabee
5,042 Likes, 607 Comments – Andy Ruiz Jr (@andy_destroyer13) on Instagram: “Every single one of these champions is on the hit list. Let me remind you that I only have 1…”
Now the rematch will determine if Joshua is even in the conversation of being one of the top heavyweights. If Joshua loses the rematch, the unforgiving boxing industry will write him out of the generation’s best conversation.
“Heavyweight boxing baby, thank you to the people who came out this evening,” said Joshua. “That’s number one. Thank you to DAZN, Sky Sports, Andy Ruiz. Heavyweight boxing is on fire.
“I just have to turn it around a few notches and bring it back my way. I don’t want people to drown in their sorrows. This will show I have the power and the strength.”
With a huge rematch on the horizon and millions of Brits looking to see if their faith in Joshua wasn’t misplaced, Andy Ruiz, Jr. has earned the assured smile he donned all fight week.
Apparently, he knew something no one else would have ever guessed.