Sports | June 3, 2019 11:09 am

Andy Ruiz Upset Anthony Joshua, and Heavyweight Boxing Is Worse For It

Ruiz took the WBA, WBO and IBF world titles from champ Anthony Joshua

Andy Ruiz Jr knocks down Anthony Joshua. (Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty)
Andy Ruiz Jr knocks down Anthony Joshua. (Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty)
PA Images via Getty Images

Entering the ring Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, chiseled champ Anthony Joshua seemed destined for a historic heavyweight unification bout against Deontay Wilder.

Seven rounds later, following a plethora of punishing blows and knockdowns courtesy of Andy Ruiz Jr., Joshua had suffered his first loss and given up a trio of title belts. With the upset win, 11-1 underdog Ruiz became the first fighter of Mexican descent to win the world heavyweight title.

By losing to Ruiz and giving up his WBA, WBO and IBF world title belts in the process, Joshua also makes a loser out of undefeated Wilder, and their much-anticipated fight is likely on ice for the foreseeable future.

That’s a big blow not only to the two fighters and their bank accounts but to the heavyweight division as a whole because now the prospect of a unification bout between two undefeated heavyweights is off the table.

“A pairing between Joshua and Wilder as undefeated heavyweight champions would have been one of the rare events in which boxing would’ve taken center stage on an international level,” according to ESPN’s Steve Kim. “Perhaps Wilder is finding a sense of satisfaction out of all this, given the acrimony of what has been an all-too-public negotiation with Joshua. But there has to be a part of him that is frustrated that the opportunity to be the first man to make the London Bridge fall down has evaporated, along with a career-high payday.”

Based on what he said after the loss, Wilder sounds like he hasn’t given up on the prospect of fighting Joshua, either inside or outside of the ring, in the future.

“He wasn’t a true champion,” Wilder wrote about Joshua on Twitter. “His whole career was consisted of lies, contradictions and gifts. Facts and now we know who was running from who!!!”

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