Anthony Joshua was upset by Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York on Saturday. The British boxer was widely expected to beat Ruiz, who showed the world tremendous skill over the course of the match and eventually won via a 7th round TKO.
No one had given Ruiz, a Mexican fighter, a chance against Joshua, a chiseled, ascendant British star who had been fighting in front of crowds of 90,000 fans in Britain. But Ruiz stunned Joshua with furious punching flurries that left him stumbling and, at several points, on the canvas. The largely pro-Joshua crowd had gone from thrilled to stunned by the time the fight was over.
Ruiz, who hails from Southern California, won the IBF, WBA, and WBO titles, and shocked the boxing world. And Joshua’s rivals took notice, especially Deontay Wilder.
In the seventh round, Ruiz again brought on a flurry of punches, starting with a left hook that dropped Joshua. About 30 seconds later, Joshua went down again. He staggered to his corner and leaned on the ropes. After a brief conversation with Joshua, the referee stopped the fight and Ruiz’s camp stormed the ring in celebration.
Ruiz (33-1) became the first 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 said. “I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.”
A few days before the fight, when Joshua sat down with reporters, he threw a major sports cliché out the window right away.
He was not simply thinking about Ruiz, he said. Rather, he also had his eyes on the more lucrative opportunities against big 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 said before a single question was asked. “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.”
"It's guts and glory, but this is all about the legacy and story."
Can @AnthonyFJoshua bounce back from a stunning defeat in New York?
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) June 2, 2019