Since bursting onto the scene in the London Olympics back in 2012. Anthony Joshua has established himself as a force in heavyweight boxing. He currently holds the IBF, WBO, and WBA heavyweight belts cementing his legacy as one of the great heavyweights of the last decade.
Anthony Joshua is just one belt away from becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion and could face Tyson Fury later this year although there have recently been doubts surrounding the fight.
Anthony Joshua has enjoyed an incredible career trajectory which saw him breeze through all of his first fourteen opponents within three rounds to earn the British and Commonwealth titles.
He soon took a step up in the form of British rival Dillian Whyte and came through the test with flying colors with a formidable knockout in the seventh round knockout. Anthony Joshua then became heavyweight champion by demolishing American Charles Martin with a second-round knockout.
Anthony Joshua went on to produce a poignant knockout against the longstanding king of the heavyweight division by defeating Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in an action-packed fight at Wembley Stadium. By this stage, it seemed that Anthony Joshua would reign supreme in the heavyweight division and victories over Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin further cemented Anthony Joshua’s place as the king of the division.
It seemed inevitable that a final showdown would take place between AJ and the other dominant heavyweight Deontay Wilder. There was immense interest surrounding the fight however talks between the two parties never materialized. Instead, Anthony Joshua was forced to face a mandatory bout against unbeaten prospect Jarell Miller.
Just three weeks before the fight was set to take place Jarell Miller received a ban from boxing after failing multiple drug tests. This handed opportunity to Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr to take the fight on with just three weeks’ notice.
Context of the fight
Heading into the fight it was seen as a formality that Anthony Joshua would produce another routined knockout victory against Andy Ruiz Jr. Most casual boxing fans had never heard of the Mexican heavyweight and very few believed he possessed the power or speed to cause any problems to the punch perfect Anthony Joshua who was dominating the heavyweight landscape at the time.
Anthony Joshua at 6ft6 in height had a four-inch height advantage over Ruiz is 6ft 2. Very few gave Andy Ruiz a chance of causing an upset and Anthony Joshua even allowed Ruiz to pose with his belts.
At the weigh-in, Anthony Joshua looked to be in the shape of his life weighing in at a 17 stone 6 whereas Andy Ruiz was seen as overweight weighing in at 19 stone 2.
Andy Ruiz Jr did have an impressive CV heading into the bout. The Mexican heavyweight had managed 29 victories with 22 of those victories coming by way of knockout. Andy Ruiz’s most credible victories were a unanimous decision victory over the experienced Kevin Johnson and a knockout victory over Alexander Dimtrenko. Ruiz had been beaten on just one occasion when he was narrowly beaten by split decision against Joseph Parker.
Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr
The fight was Anthony Joshua’s USA debut and took place at Madison Square Garden. Anthony Joshua was the clear favorite to win the fight whereas Andy Ruiz was a 9/1 underdog to cause an upset.
The first two rounds began as expected with both fighters easing their way into the fight. Joshua controlled the tempo of the fight and tested Ruiz with the right-handed jab from distance.
The third round would prove a watershed moment in the contest. At first, it seemed as if everything was following the script as Anthony Joshua put Andy Ruiz on the canvas with a devastating left hook. Andy Ruiz valiantly rose to his feet and it proved to be a turning point in the fight. Just moments after being dropped the Mexican heavyweight responded by pilling the pressure on The Watford-born heavyweight.
Ruiz was able to respond with a knockdown of his own and dropped Joshua with a powerful left hand. Anthony Joshua was on shaky legs for the rest of the round and was knocked down a second time by Andy Ruiz. The Mexican’s hand speed and fast combinations were proving too formidable for the Brit.
After narrowly surviving the third round Anthony Joshua was able to keep claw his way back into the fight and restore a sense of fluency in the fight. It was a fairly evenly fought contest until the sixth round as Anthony Joshua began to build momentum with his jab.
Despite clawing his way back into the fight there was a great sense of tentativeness from Anthony Joshua as the fight went on and he still looked slightly off-color after the events of the third round. In the sixth round, Andy Ruiz targeted the body and it became clear that Anthony Joshua was there for the taking.
In the seventh round, Andy Ruiz sent shockwaves around the boxing world by knocking the heavyweight champion to the ground on a further two occasions. Anthony Joshua was unable to beat the clock in the final knockdown and was beaten for the first time in his career.
Andy Ruiz had done the impossible and defeated the king of the heavyweight division. The underdog story has been compared to Hasim Rahman’s victory against Lennox Lewis and Buster Douglas’s shock victory over Mike Tyson.
It was a result that changed the landscape of the heavyweight division as it proved that Anthony Joshua was far from invincible and that his defense could be breached. This victory made Andy Ruiz Jr the first-ever Mexican heavyweight champion. In the aftermath of the fight, Anthony Joshua handled the defeat with grace. He said: “It’s no excuses, its my own fault.”
After the defeat Anthony Joshua took the opportunity to take a rematch clause against Andy Ruiz Jr. In the second encounter Joshua impressively avenged his defeat. He fought the fight at distance and used his jab and extra reach advantage with great effect to cruise to a unanimous decision victory.
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