Andy Ruiz Jr is the new IBF, WBO, IBO and WBA world heavyweight boxing champion after producing a massive shock victory over Anthony Joshua in New York.
The Mexican challenger floored the previously-unbeaten Briton four times at Madison Square Garden before claiming the win with a seventh-round stoppage.
Ruiz Jr only got the opportunity to face Joshua after Jarrell Miller’s failed drugs tests and was a massive underdog going into the fight.
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However, in this week’s press conference the 29-year-old said he could cause a shock and that’s exactly what he did.
Ruiz Jr, who was also sent to the canvas in round three, said: “I just feel so good, man. This is what I have been dreaming about. This is what I have been working hard for. I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.
“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.”
Joshua: I shall return
British star Joshua went into his US debut as the overwhelming bookies’ favourite to retain his titles and much of the talk pre-fight was about potential showdowns with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.
Now the 29-year-old Joshua must focus on a rematch with Ruiz Jr. He has vowed to bounce back after his New York shock loss.
Joshua told Sky Sports Box Office: “I train hard, I stay dedicated and just got beat by a good fighter tonight. It will be interesting to see how far he goes, so good luck to him, but I’ve got to bounce back. This is all part of the story and the journey.
“I’ve got to get that solid armoury. This is the risk we take, but we’ll bounce back. He’s the champ for now. Just put that in mind, he’s the champ for now. I shall return.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said a rematch will be planned later this year in the UK. The Matchroom Sport boss said: “This will devastate him. He will come back. It’s now down to the rematch and winning that fight. To get back to the heights he has been, he must win that rematch.
“AJ will be back 100%. We’ll make the rematch in the UK, November, December, but tonight belongs to Andy Ruiz. He made history. It was a massive heavyweight shock tonight.”
Wilder and Fury have their say
Joshua’s heavyweight rivals Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury both tweeted after Ruiz Jr’s victory in New York - and their messages could not have been more different.
In a scathing attack, WBC champion Wilder said: “He wasn’t a true champion. His whole career was consisted of lies, contradictions and gifts. Facts and now we know who was running from who!”
Fury urged his British rival to “rest up” and “recover”, he said: “We have our back and Forth’s but @anthonyfjoshua changed his stars through life. heavyweight boxing, these things happen, rest up, recover, regroup and come again.”
‘A broken man’: how pundits and press reacted
The Mexican’s win against Joshua goes down as one of the biggest shocks in boxing history.
BBC Sport’s Luke Reddy said: “Ruiz, from appearance to pedigree, was an underdog in every sense of the word. When Britons wake up on Sunday morning, they will read of a truly iconic upset.”
Here’s how the boxing writers and pundits reacted.
James Dielhenn, Sky Sports: “Joshua was floored four times and beaten in seven stunning rounds in a result to rival any surprise in the sport’s illustrious history. The shock harks back to Mike Tyson’s infamous loss to the unfancied Buster Douglas in 1990, or Lennox Lewis’ defeats to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman.”
Steve Bunce, BBC Radio 5 Live boxing pundit: “Anthony Joshua was a broken man in that seventh round. He spat his gum shield out and went back to the ropes. The referee had no option but to stop the fight. Anthony Joshua is not going to be able to get away with saying ‘what a great fight that was - everyone was entertained’. That is not good enough.”
Mike Costello, BBC Sport boxing correspondent: “Anthony Joshua looked vacant in the ring after the fight.”
Gareth A Davies, The Daily Telegraph: “They will compare this to the night in 1990 when the unfavoured Buster Douglas knocked out then-undefeated Mike Tyson in the Tokyo Dome. Tyson recovered from it; now the 29-year-old Briton must haul his broken spirit and body up from the canvas and do the same. Boxing is an unforgiving sport at the best of times. Now is the time that we will really find out where the championship material exists inside the body and soul of the champion they said could become the undisputed one.”
Bryan Armen Graham, The Guardian: “This was no fluke. No lucky one-punch knockout that can be explained away by a silver-tongued promoter. Joshua was outboxed, out-toughed and beaten up on a night that turned boxing’s bellwether weight class on its ear.”
Jeff Powell, Daily Mail: “Anthony Joshua fell crumbling victim to one of the most astonishing upsets in heavyweight boxing history. The Mexican who was supposed to be battered stripped Britain’s golden Olympian of his four world titles. Andy Ruiz Jnr became the first heavyweight from his country to win the world heavyweight title. And he turned boxing’s past and future on its head.��
Dan Rafael, ESPN: “Sold-out Madison Square Garden was packed with 20,201, including many of Joshua’s British countrymen who had made the trip across the pond expecting to see him smoke Ruiz. But it became Joshua’s waterloo and crushed the chance of an undisputed championship fight between Joshua and Deontay Wilder that so many have wanted for so long.”
Tom Gray, The Ring: “A final word must go to the new unified heavyweight titleholder, Andy Ruiz Jr. As he stood proudly listening to the Mexican national anthem, Ruiz was heckled by hordes of idiots around the ringside area over his body shape. ‘You fat bastard!’ they cried in unison. ‘Get your tits out for the lads!’ they sang. Not one of them would dare say any of that to Ruiz’s face, but it’s easy to be brave when you’re several feet out of punching range. One wonders how those individuals feel now.”
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