Anthony Joshua shocked by Andy Ruiz Jr on historic night for heavyweight boxing
Ruiz Jr becomes Mexico's first heavyweight champion after stopping Joshua in the seventh round to claim his IBF, WBA and WBO titles
In one of the biggest shocks in modern boxing, Anthony Joshua was sensationally stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr in the seventh round as the unified heavyweight world champion's American debut ended in a nightmare.
After a cagey opening, Joshua looked to have taken control in the third round after landing an uppercut flush on the American-Mexican challenger's chin. However, after beating the count, Ruiz instantly turned the fight on its head by not only resisting Joshua's subsequent assault but by firing straight back and putting the champion on the canvas.
Contrary to Ruiz's rapid recovery, Joshua never regained his composure and was knocked down a further three times before the referee waved off the contest in the seventh.
Cue wild celebrations from Ruiz, who walked out of Madison Square Garden in New York City with Joshua's IBF, WBA and WBO titles. Ruiz, 29, also becomes the first Mexican heavyweight champion in boxing history.
"Boxing is a tough sport, but I train hard and I got beaten by a good fighter. It will be interesting to see how far he goes, but this is all part of the journey," Joshua, who suffered his first professional defeat, told Sky Sports post-fight.
"I'm a fighter by heart, boxer by trade, it has got people talking and there's more life in the heavyweight division. When your legs are all over the gaff, you are trying to stabolise. This is the first fight like that. Against Klitschko (when he also got knocked down) I was just tired.
"Congratulations to the first Mexican heavyweight champion. We bounce back.
This is the risk we take, every fighter deserves respect so congratulations to him. I respect every fighter, this is all part of the legacy, it's how strong I came back. He's a champion for now, I shall return."
Ruiz's victory is all the more remarkable given he had just four weeks to prepare for the fight having stepped in as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, who failed a series of drug tests. He had only just fought on April 20 when he defeated Alexander Dimitrenko.
"Without my dad this would not have been possible and I just feel so good," Ruiz said. "This is what I have been dreaming about and I cannot believe I made my dreams come true. I want to thank my team and my family and the sky is the limit.
"That was my first time getting dropped on the floor but it made me want it even more and I just thank God.
"I have got that Mexican blood in me and that just proved it. I could sense Joshua was hurt but I didn't want to throw everything at it, I just wanted to work the body and stick to the game plan. Right now, I just want to celebrate and I made history for Mexico. It means everything."
Published: June 2, 2019 08:29 AM