Andy Ruiz Jr. entered Saturday night’s heavyweight championship bout against Anthony Joshua as a 17-1 underdog to the IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBO heavyweight world champion.
The physical difference between the husky Ruiz and the chiseled physique of Joshua only helped to offer what most thought to be an obvious visual of the gap between the two fighters, but when they stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden, none of that mattered. Ruiz Jr. started slow as Joshua pelted him with jabs, but came alive in the third round, sending the champ to the canvas after being knocked down himself.
From there, he only gained confidence, and in the seventh, Joshua tasted the mat two more times, ultimately leading to the referee to call a stop to the fight after he turned to his corner and was without his mouthpiece, looking fairly disinterested. Ruiz leapt around the ring in celebration, suddenly the new heavyweight champion of the world.
It is truly one of the most stunning results recently in boxing, although far from the biggest in heavyweight title fight history, as Buster Douglas’ KO of Mike Tyson remains the all-timer. Still, it was not the showing Joshua wanted in his first trip stateside, as the British star has only took the ring for his title fights in the United Kingdom previously. This also puts quite the hiccup in superfight hopes between he and undefeated WBC champ Deontay Wilder, who already has two rematches on the books for late 2019 and early 2020.
Joshua had been quite vocal in his displeasure with the Wilder-Tyson Fury rematch recently announced, but the result on Saturday night allowed a victory lap for Wilder on Twitter.
As for what’s next for Joshua, that’s a major question. He’s still a supremely talented fighter, but whether a lack of preparation or a lack of respect for his opponent, he was far from on his A-game on Saturday in New York and paid the price.