ANDY Ruiz Jr produced one of the biggest shocks in the history of heavyweight boxing when he ripped Anthony Joshua’s IBF, WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles from him by way of a technical knockout.
In a truly remarkable fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Ruiz knocekd Joshua down four times en route to a seventh-round stoppage, which stunned this famous arena and handed the Briton his first defeat as a professional.
Joshua was a 1-25 favourite with bookmakers, with 22 wins – 21 by knockout – going into the fight. He will now join the likes of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson as dominant champions to suffer losses which brought the sport to a standstill.
“I got beaten by a good fighter,” said 29-year-old Joshua on Sky Sports. “It will be interesting to see how far he goes, but this is all part of the journey. He’s a champion for now, I shall return.”
After flooring Ruiz with a left hook in the third round, Joshua hit the canvas when a right crashed against his temple. By the time a sensational three minutes was up he had been down for a second time thanks to a flurry of punches when he got cornered.
It created an electric buzz amongst the 19 000 spectators in the arena.
Ruiz, 29, was not even supposed to be here. He took the bout at six weeks’ notice and tickets were being collected by fans 24 hours before the bout which still had the name of Jarrell Miller – Joshua’s original opponent – printed on them.
By the seventh round, when Joshua touched down under a flurry of shots again, the game looked up. Seconds later he was down on all fours again and spat his gum shield out.
The upset was arguably the biggest within the division since Hasim Rahman stopped Lennox Lewis in 2001 and brought back memories of James “Buster” Douglas’ 1990 win over Mike Tyson.
“I just want to thank God for giving me this victory. Without him this wouldn’t have been possible,” Ruiz said. “This is what I have been dreaming about. This is what I have been working hard for, and I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.”