This summer provided one of the biggest sporting shocks of recent times and sent shockwaves around the boxing world, as Andy Ruiz Jr stepped up on short notice and handed world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua his first-ever professional defeat.
In doing so, Ruiz Jr became the first Mexican heavyweight world title holder in history, an incredible achievement having only answered the call to take on Joshua on a few weeks’ notice.
Much was made of the 29-year-old’s eye-catching physique, with the majority of the public writing off his chances instantly and expecting ‘AJ’ to add another knockout victim to his long list along his time in the paid ranks.
Britain’s Joshua had initially been scheduled to face off with American heavyweight contender, Jarrell Miller, but the man known as ‘Big Baby’ was forced out of the bout after failing no less than three drug tests, testing positive for banned substances in the build-up.
That left a huge opportunity for another heavyweight challenger to grasp and potentially dethrone Joshua on short notice on a massive night at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. That’s exactly what Ruiz Jr did, securing a win which has since changed his life and boosted his career enormously.
All eyes are now shifting towards the rematch, which is reportedly set to take place in December. But unfortunately for Joshua and his Matchroom Boxing team, including promoter Eddie Hearn, Ruiz Jr recently confirmed that it would definitely not be held in the UK as previously believed.
Ruiz Jr is currently regarded as the 5/2 underdog with bet365 in the latest boxing betting to prevail in the pair’s anticipated rematch this year, despite being the victor the first time around.
Those odds may surprise a few fans in light of the first result and the style that Ruiz Jr will likely cause the former unified champion more problems in their second meeting.
Whether it’s in the United States once again or in the champion’s native homeland of Mexico, it will be Ruiz Jr this time defending the unified titles.
He’s now in possession of all of the WBA ‘Super’, IBF and WBO straps and the newly crowned division king will be aiming to retain them with what would be another impressive, yet surprising, victory over Joshua.
A win for the world’s first-ever Mexican heavyweight champion would be another massive shock, with most believing it was a one-off result, but he has the abilities and traits to back up the initial success with a second consecutive triumph.
Such a result would be hard to come back from for ‘AJ’, with back-to-back defeats at the hands of Ruiz Jr potentially set to derail his career completely. Where exactly would he go from there? He would become irrelevant very quickly in the division.
But Ruiz Jr is hoping to pile that misery on the Briton when they collide at the end of this year, as he makes his first defence as world heavyweight champion.