Madison Square Garden just became the sight of one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight boxing history.
Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) was a 25-to-1 favorite to beat short notice replacement Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs) in his United States debut, but the British superstar was stopped in seven rounds by the Mexican-American, who literally just fought on April 20th. There were five knockdowns in this unforgettable, stunning contest, with Joshua on the canvas four times.
It looked like it would be a rough night for Ruiz when he was floored by a left hook in round three. This marked the first time he’d ever been dropped in his career. Joshua sought the finish and traded with the deceptively quick Ruiz, who then turned the tables dramatically and knocked AJ down after rocking him with a left to the temple. Ruiz poured on the punishment late in the same frame and sent Joshua tumbling for a second time with a furious flurry. Joshua was basically saved by the bell.
Joshua got his legs back over rounds 4-5, with Ruiz seemingly letting Anthony off the hook after badly hurting him. In round 6, Ruiz had Joshua reeling again with a deft set of shots to the head and body. Joshua went on the attack in round seven but that proved to be disastrous, as Ruiz hurt him again and dropped him a third time. When Joshua got back to his feet, he fired off a couple of hooks but Ruiz decked him for a fourth time, and this time Joshua spit out his mouthpiece. When he went to his corner, referee Michael Griffin asked Joshua if he was ready to box. Joshua said “yes” but did not walk forward, and the fight was stopped in front of the partisan Joshua crowd. The Mexican contingent erupted in unbridled joy after witnessing the unlikeliest of outcomes.
Official result: Andy Ruiz def. Anthony Joshua by TKO at 1:27 of round 7 to become the WBO, IBF, and WBA heavyweight champion
Andy Ruiz Jr is more than just a pudgy figure, he’s now one belt shy of being the undisputed champion.
The heavyweight division has just been turned upside down.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said that a rematch clause is in effect, and that they’ll look to make a second bout with Ruiz Jr happen in November of December.