Andy Ruiz Jr. pulled off a spectacular upset on Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden, defeating Anthony Joshua, the beforehand unbeaten heavyweight world champion, by technical knockout after the referee stopped the battle in the seventh spherical.
No one had given Ruiz, a doughy Mexican fighter, an opportunity towards Joshua, a chiseled, ascendant British star who had been preventing in entrance of crowds of 90,000 followers in Britain. But Ruiz shocked Joshua with livid punching flurries that left him stumbling and, at a number of factors, on the canvas. The largely pro-Joshua crowd had gone from thrilled to shocked by the time the battle was over.
The upset had echoes of Buster Douglas’s stunning upset of Mike Tyson almost 30 years in the past.
Joshua scored the primary knockdown with a crisp left hand in the third spherical. But from then on Ruiz delivered many of the damaging blows. After getting off the canvas in the third spherical, Ruiz knocked down Joshua twice, beginning with left hooks that led to relentless flurries. On the second knockdown of the spherical, Joshua was saved by the bell.
In the seventh spherical, Ruiz once more introduced on a flurry of punches, beginning with a left hook that dropped Joshua. About 30 seconds later, Joshua went down once more. He staggered to his nook and leaned on the ropes. After a short dialog with Joshua, the referee stopped the battle and Ruiz’s camp stormed the ring in celebration.
Ruiz (33-1) turned the primary Mexican boxer to be a world heavyweight champion, capturing the International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Association titles.
“This is what I’ve been working hard for,” he stated. “I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.”
Ruiz’s victory was all of the extra exceptional as a result of he took the battle on brief discover after Joshua’s scheduled opponent, Jarrell Miller, examined constructive for performance-enhancing medicine.
Boxing fanatics had been speaking in regards to the subsequent nice period of heavyweights, led by Joshua (22-1), the American champion Deontay Wilder and Britain’s Tyson Fury. Joshua’s loss, sudden because it was, might not put a damper on these visions — it could make issues extra intriguing.
This battle at Madison Square Garden was purported to be Joshua’s large introduction to the United States in an effort to construct his stardom past his house nation. Instead, it was a humiliating setback. Joshua appeared to be trying previous Ruiz, and he appeared to have approached the battle extra as a brand-building train for a dream megafight between him and the undefeated Wilder sooner or later.
Instead, as a result of Saturday’s battle had a rematch clause, Joshua is more likely to tackle Ruiz once more instantly.
Just a few days earlier than the battle, when Joshua sat down with reporters, he threw a serious sports activities cliché out the window immediately.
He was not merely interested by Ruiz, he stated. Rather, he additionally had his eyes on the extra profitable alternatives towards large names like Wilder.
“Even though an athlete or a fighter will always say, ‘I have to focus solely on my opponent on June 1,’ I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t always looked at that bigger picture,” Joshua stated earlier than a single query was requested. “I’m not looking past him, but I definitely don’t put blinkers on to see the potential, if I beat this guy, what’s out there for me.”
That query took on an entire new which means for Joshua after Saturday evening’s defeat.