When Anthony Joshua knocked Ruiz down in the third round, the boxing world though it knew what would happen next. Spoiler alert: they were wrong.
It was supposed to be Anthony Joshua’s big night at Madison Square Garden. His USA debut at the Mecca of sports, the most famous arena for boxing. The stage was set, the crowd inside MSG was roaring, and Anthony Joshua looked ready for the challenge. Unexpectedly, it turned out to be one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight boxing history.
Anthony Joshua, undefeated before entering the ring last night (22-0, 21KO), was obviously the big favorite of the event. After beating Wladimir Klitschko and becoming the heavyweight champion of the World back in April 2017, Anthony Joshua defended his belts three times. He first beat Carlos Takam, then Joseph Parker, and last September, he stopped Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds.
On the other corner, there was Andy Ruiz Jr, who lost only one time, against the same Joseph Parker who AJ defeated. When Big Baby Miller, the opponent who was supposed to fight AJ yesterday, failed every possible doping test, Andy Ruiz texted Eddie Hearn (Joshua’s manager) on Instagram. Ruiz wrote Hearn that he could pick up the open spot. The two parties came to an agreement and the fight was set. Andy looked happy for the opportunity to step on such a big stage, He didn’t look only happy but also confident.
After the first two rounds of mostly studying, the third round became one for the ages.
First AJ knocks Ruiz down, then while he tried to finish him, he let his guard down and the Mexican fighter took advantage of it and responded with a surprising knockdown as well. Ruiz will end up knocking down Aj twice in the third round, but the first might be the one which really hurt the Brit badly, and changed probably the course of the fight.
In fact, from there on, Joshua looked unfocused and somehow with shaky legs. He landed a few punches in the three upcoming rounds, but mostly, he was trying to recover from the third round’s beatdown. Ruiz on the other end controlled the fight well, waiting for his chance to go all in. The chance came in the seventh round.
Ruiz hit AJ hard with a left hook to the head, he smelled blood and kept on attacking with a fast and strong combination of punches. This resulted in Joshua going down for the third time. Once back on his feet, AJ looked at his corner in disbelief, mentally out of the fight, and in serious troubles. Ruiz put an end to it a few seconds later with another sequence of strong punches. Despite being down for the fourth time, Joshua stood up again, but he wasn’t there anymore. The referee had seen enough and stopped the fight. Without a doubt the correct decision.
Just like that the undefeated champion lost. Andy Ruiz Jr. won the biggest fight of his career, on the biggest stage in the World against all the odds. The first Mexican Heavyweight Champion of the World ever.
Ruiz might not have the body of Joshua, nor the hight or the length. But last night It didn’t matter. What he had more than AJ was the heart and the willingness to never give up.
The Other Fights:
Last night wasn’t only about Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr. More fights took place, and they were surely entertaining.
Callum Smith remains undefeated (25-0-0) after knocking out, without any issues, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in three rounds. Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon put together probably one of the best women fight ever. However, the result remains controversial: Taylor won and unified all the belts, but the feeling is that a draw would have been the correct decision.
Chris Algeri defeated Tommy Coyle in eight rounds, while Josh Kelly and Ray Robinson ended up in a draw. Joshua Buatsi took care of business in four rounds against Marco Antonio Periban.
Photos by Al Bello/Getty Images and Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images