A massive 25-1 underdog stunned the boxing world Saturday night at New York’s Madison Square Garden, winning the heavyweight championship and becoming the first Mexican heritage fighter to take the title.
Andy Ruiz Jr. dropped Anthony Joshua four times before the fight was stopped at 1:27 of the seventh round. Ruiz, whose tubby frame was the opposite of Joshua’s chiseled body, was a late replacement for Brooklyn’s Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller in the bout.
The astonishing win was reminiscent of Mike Tyson’s upset loss to Buster Douglas, or Muhammad Ali being beaten by Leon Spinks.
Ruiz was himself knocked down early in the third round, but came back strong in the same round and dropped Joshua twice. He also dropped him twice in the seventh round.
“I just want to thank God for giving me this victory,” Ruiz said to a standing ovation from the sold-out MSG crowd. “This is what I dreamed about. This is what I’ve been working hard for. I can’t believe I made my dreams come true.”
Joshua was making his American debut and suffered his first loss in 23 fights. Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) claims the WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight titles. An automatic rematch triggered by a contractual clause will happen later this year.
“I don’t want anyone to drown in their sorrow,” Joshua said. “It’s about the long-run, not the short run. It just wasn’t my night. Ruiz deserves every bit of fame and fortune he’s about to receive.”