Heavyweight Stunner: Ruiz Knocks Out Joshua to Win Titles in Mammoth Upset; Rematch Looming
Posted on: June 1, 2019, 11:52h.
Last updated on: June 1, 2019, 11:52h.
The boxing world got turned on its ear late Saturday night as Andy Ruiz Jr. knocked out Anthony Joshua in the seventh round to hand the champion his first professional loss and win the unified heavyweight title.
In what many on social media are calling boxing’s greatest upset since Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson nearly 30 years ago, the 29-year-old Ruiz came into the Madison Square Garden bout with a 33-1 record. However, oddsmakers had him as a massive underdog to the 29-year-old British boxer and former Olympic gold medalist, who appeared to be in better shape.
Ruiz, who gave up four inches of height and about eight inches in reach despite being 20 pounds heavier, was an 11-1 underdog at Caesars sportsbook. PointsBet had him at +1160 earlier Saturday, while FanDuel offered Ruiz at +1200.
How unexpected was the result? According to DraftKings, it listed Joshua (22-1) at -3335, meaning a bettor would need to bet that amount to win $100. Even with odds that steep, DraftKings reported that 96 percent of the money it took on the fight went on Joshua.
DraftKings offered +950 odds on Ruiz earlier Saturday.
Champ Knocked Down Four Times
Any thoughts of a mismatch were erased by the third round. While Joshua was able to knock down Ruiz early in the round, Ruiz recovered quickly, sending Joshua to the canvas twice in the same round.
Four rounds later, Ruiz knocked down Joshua twice more. Joshua again avoided the 10-count both times. However, after the final knockdown, blood began to ooze from the champion’s right nostril. While Joshua seemed to be sturdy on his feet, referee Mike Griffin saw enough to end the bout midway through the round.
With that, Ruiz became the WBA, IBF, WBF, and IBO heavyweight champion.
I wanted to prove everybody wrong,” Ruiz said in the post-fight press conference. “All the doubters thinking that I was going to lose. Third round. First round… But what do you know man? I’m the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world.”
Ruiz fought just six weeks before Saturday’s mammoth upset, beating Alexander Dimitrenko in five rounds. Shortly after that bout, Ruiz found himself in a position to face Joshua, whose scheduled bout with Jarrel Miller fell through because of Miller’s failed drug tests.
The victory by Ruiz comes at a time when many were already looking ahead at other potential matches for Joshua, who was making his US debut Saturday night.
This past week, the highly anticipated rematch between Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury was announced to take place early next year, assuming both boxers win their upcoming scheduled bouts. Wilder-Fury fought to a draw late last year, and the expectation was the winner of their rematch would be the likely contender to face Joshua.
British publication The Independent reported the both Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, said their camp will trigger an automatic rematch clause included in the contract.
That rematch would take place in Britain by the end of the year.
Ruiz “made history, it was a massive heavyweight shock tonight, it’ll go down in history as a very, very big one and now we’ll see what AJ’s about,” Hearn said. “I know he’s got the heart of a lion, he’ll be back.”
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