On June 1st, one of the most prestigious pro boxers of the era had the biggest flop of his career. Anthony Joshua was taken down by the underdog Andy Ruiz Jr, giving Joshua the first loss of his career. Things weren’t supposed to end up like this for Joshua.
Joshua is a former unified world heavyweight champion, having held the WBA, IBF and WBO titles between 2016 and 2019. Before his most recent loss to Ruiz Jr. he hasn’t had a fight since 2018 which was when he faced off against Alexander Povetkin and came out victorious. Since then he has been living his life more outside of boxing but still keeping in mind the thought of returning.
Ever since Joshua won his first Heavyweight title in Britain he wanted to finally fight in America. Then he got his chance. His return fight would be in Madison Square Garden against Jarrell Miller.
Former kickboxer Jarrell Miller was scheduled to fight Joshua on June 1st. At press conferences, the two heavyweights seemed to have a real hatred between them, with Miller even pushing Joshua across the stage at one point. They trained for the fight, but then Miller ended up failing three consecutive drug tests. This would have a big impact on his career meaning lesser chances in the future for possible fights as to opponents may not be interested and a bigger impact on the fight with Joshua. Joshua was stunned by what happened and his manager Eddie Hearn said, “I’m disgusted.”
Now the search was on for a new opponent in a short time. Only a month before the day of the fight, Andy Ruiz Jr the Mexican-American Heavyweight accepted the invitation and was set to fight Anthony Joshua on the original date at Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz Jr was considered the underdog in this fight for many reasons. Joshua was a more experienced fighter in such a high level of their sport. Ruiz’s experience was mostly in much smaller venues. Throughout his career he was always shamed for his comparatively unsculpted look, whereas Joshua was built like a machine. Although their Pro records are similar with Joshua’s 22-1 and Ruiz being 33-1, Joshua has faced better competition in the ring than Ruiz has such as his win with Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. Odds makers were giving 20 to 1 odds for Joshua.
Spectators were in for a surprise.
Both fighters were ready to have what would be a brawl of the ages. During the first 2 rounds of the fight, not many heavy punches were thrown as each fighter were sizing each other up and noticing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But about 15 seconds into the third round, Joshua slipped Ruiz a quick left hook to knock the Mexican-American Heavyweight down for the first time in the fight. But as he got up he smothered Joshua with heavy blows to the head sending the champion to the ground for his first time in the fight. This was a war between two boxers fighting their hearts out. Joshua was saved by the bell at the end of the third round as he staggered up onto his feet after a second knockdown by Ruiz.
The seventh round would be one of the wildest in heavyweight history. Ruiz knocks down Joshua for the first time only thirty seconds in, although Joshua appears fine as he gets up with ease. Joshua appears to go on the offensive but Ruiz sends him right back down with a big overhand right even knocking the mouthpiece right out of Joshua’s mouth. But yet again Joshua gets up. He heads to the corner and soon referee Mike Griffin has called the fight off.
As the bell rings Ruiz jumps around the ring ecstatically. He is the heavyweight of Mexican descent to win the four titles he won. Other boxing superstars such as Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury must’ve been in complete shock as to what they had just witnessed. This fight is to be one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history and stuns fans and spectators all around the country.
The two contenders are already contracted for a rematch in the near future. The boxing world is very excited to see how things will play out for Joshua as his career. It will be a make it or break it night for him when he faces Andy Ruiz Jr. again, this time on Joshua’s home soil in Britain.
Image Credit: Youtube: Dazn