Andy Ruiz Jr. pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history on Saturday night in flooring Anthony Joshua four times to win by seventh-round TKO.
The heavy underdog by a whopping 25-1 margin, overcame a third-round knockdown to beat Joshua to win the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in the British superstar’s U.S. debut at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
The stunning win was reminiscent of Buster Douglas’ 1990 win over Mike Tyson and Hasim Rahman’s stoppage of Lennox Lewis in 2001.
The 29-year old Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) also becomes the first Mexican heavyweight champion in boxing history. Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) is fully expected to exercise their rematch clause and can demand an immediate return bout. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promotor, told DAZN’s Chris Mannix in the ring that the rematch would in fact take place in the United Kingdom where the now former champion has fought his entire career.
Here is our round-by-round recap.
First Round – A cautious Joshua mostly boxed the entire round using his longer jab to feel Ruiz out, who was unable to get on the inside. The champion did an excellent job of controlling the action here. (10-9, Joshua).
Second Round – Ruiz comes right out and scores on a couple of jabs and gets in a nice right hand. However, Joshua continued to pop the jab and maintains a safe distance but then lands a hard-right hand of his own. (10-9, Joshua).
Third Round – Things are starting to heat up. Joshua drops Ruiz on the seat of his pants with a left hook, but the challenger gamely gets right back up and returns the favor by dropping the champion with a left hand. Ruiz then drops Joshua again with a straight right hand. Joshua did not appear to have his legs under him for the rest of the round. Just like that the entire tide of this fight has changed! (10-8, Ruiz)
Fourth Round – Now Joshua is tentative after being shaken up in that last round and must know that he is in a dog fight. Strangely, Ruiz lets him off the hook and does not press the action in this mostly uneventful round. (10-9, Ruiz)
Fifth Round – Joshua begins to regain his senses and goes back to the jab and lands a flush left hook. Perhaps he’ll be able to storm back from the brink of defeat much like he did against Wladimir Klitschko. Ruiz sees another opportunity to capitalize upon his early success slip by. (10-9, Joshua)
Sixth Round – Ruiz suddenly wakes up and goes hard to the body making Joshua pay for fighting timidly. He’s clearly most effective when aggressive and on the attack. (10-9, Ruiz)
Seventh Round – Joshua goes down again and again. He then spits out his mouthpiece as referee Michael Griffin asks whether he wants to continue. Joshua backs into his corner without a response and the fight is waved off at 1:27. Ruiz is now the new unified heavyweight champion! (10-8, Ruiz)
Ruiz also won the statistical war by out landing Joshua, 56 to 47, according to CompuBox.
The sold-out crowd, which was largely in favor of Joshua, was understandably stunned and silent following the stoppage. Ruiz was perhaps just as surprised as he jumped around the ring in wild celebration.
“I just want to thank God for giving me this victory. Without him this wouldn’t have been possible,” Ruiz said.
In an act of pure sportsmanship and making no excuses, Joshua congratulated his conqueror.
“Big respect to Andy, big big respect,” Joshua said. “[He’s a] good
fighter. Thank you America. Thank you everyone for coming out this evening. Sorry I let my friends down, sorry I let my supporters down.”
The loss will certainly hurt Joshua, who was angling for a unification fight with WBC boss Deontay Wilder. The American slugger has business of his own to take care of in a rematch with Luis Ortiz but must be looking forward to getting it on with Joshua after tonight’s stunning events.
The two have traded intense verbal barbs over the past several months as anticipation has continued to build for the seemingly inevitable clash. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ took to Twitter to dish on Joshua again after the loss.
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!!!!#TilThisDay
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) June 2, 2019
– Ouch !
Regardless of what you think about Wilder, he is still undefeated and that is something that Joshua can no longer claim.