Andy Ruiz Jr ready for first fight in 17 months after losing 55 pounds - in pictures

Mexican takes on 40-year-old Chris Arreola in California on Saturday

Andy Ruiz Jr is set to return to the ring for the first time in 17 months, and this time he is in top shape.

The former heavyweight champion has not fought since losing to Anthony Joshua in December of 2019. The Mexican-American begins his comeback against unheralded American opponent Chris Arreola, 40, in California on Saturday.

And while it is not a top-tier bout, Ruiz has left no stone unturned – he has dropped 55 pounds for the fight.

Ruiz became Mexico's first world heavyweight champion when he stunned Joshua in New York in June, 2019. But in their rematch in December in Saudi Arabia, Ruiz weighed a whopping 283 pounds and was out of shape. He lost easily. After the defeat, he let himself go and went up to 310 pounds.

But Ruiz got a new trainer, lost the excess weight and is now taking his first steps towards a comeback.

“It’s going to be an all action fight,”’ said Ruiz, who now tips the scale at 255 pounds. “All the Mexican fans are going to come and support us. The best way to watch this fight is being at home, watching on TV and celebrating.”

Ruiz admitted the initial win over Joshua got to his head.

“I killed the old Andy and a new Andy was born,” Ruiz said. “I have a lot to prove. I let a lot of people down, and that’s why I had to make big changes to myself. I know what I’m capable of doing and I know what I can accomplish. I have it inside of me to become the Mexican two-time heavyweight champion of the world.”

Ruiz faces Arreola in a scheduled 12-round fight at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, where a limited number of fans will be allowed because of pandemic restrictions.

“I didn’t know what was coming my way. I didn’t know what to expect,’’ he said about winning the title. ”At the time I had cousins that I didn’t even know, I had uncles and friends from a long time ago I didn’t know until I won. So I kind of went with the flow and that was kind of my distraction. But we all learn from our mistakes. And I’ve got to start all over again, start back at the bottom of the ladder.”

Updated: April 30, 2021 08:04 AM

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