This Mexican Boxer Just Pulled The Most Iconic Upset Making History As The First Mexican Heavyweight Champion
History was made over the weekend when Andy Ruiz Jr. pulled off the biggest heavyweight upset of his generation. With a technical knock out (TKO) in the seventh round, Ruiz knocked out three-belt heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to become the first boxer of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight title.
It was a moment few saw coming and even more could ever imagine as Ruiz wasn’t even scheduled to be involved in the match as early as six weeks ago. He was a replacement for what was supposed to be a match between Joshua and Jarrell Miller, who submitted three positive drug tests.
At 6-foot-2 and 268 pounds, Ruiz proved he was fit enough to knock down Joshua four times and complete the amazing upset.
Prior to Saturday night, Ruiz entered the match as a huge +1100 underdog. These odds made his seventh-round victory over the then-undefeated Joshua notable, marking one of the biggest upsets in recent heavyweight boxing history.
It took less than 20 minutes for the 29-year-old boxer became the WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBO heavyweight champion. But it was after the fight where Ruiz made the upset even more special when he recognized the gravity of the moment.
“I just feel so good, man,” Ruiz said, according to USA Today. “This is what I’ve been dreaming about, this is what I’ve been working hard for. I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.”
Ruiz grew up in the U.S.-Mexico border town of Imperial, east of San Diego.
Ruiz comes from humble beginnings as he grew up in a farming town near the U.S.-Mexico border. From the age of six, Ruiz started his boxing career and would train with his father. He would take Ruiz with him for daily training sessions in Mexicali and would endure 90-minute waits at the border crossing.
Ahead of the match, Ruiz acknowledged the significance of what a victory would mean not only to him but Mexicans overall. He said at times it bothers him “the way a lot of people talk about Mexicans” and wanted the fight to prove otherwise.
“It means a lot, especially knowing I’ve worked from 6 years old to get to where I’m at now,” Ruiz told the LA Times. “But it won’t mean something only to me. Each Mexican has his own dream, and I’ve come to believe as long as we focus, you can accomplish anything you want. So maybe by winning, I can change some minds.”
In a heartfelt moment after the fight, Ruiz said the victory meant he wouldn’t “have to struggle no more.”
In an emotional press conference, Ruiz was moved to tears as he thanked his trainers and family. But it was the moment that Ruiz brought up his mother and the struggles they’ve endured that brought the moment into perspective.
“Mom, I love you, Our lives are gonna change. We don’t have to struggle no more,” Ruiz said as a Mexican flag hung behind him. “Thanks to god, everything happened for a reason.”
Even Joshua took the time to congratulate Ruiz over the upset victory.
Well, many had expected Joshua to win the fight without much challenge, Ruiz proved it’s not always that easy. Throughout boxing history, there have been many upsets and this match etched its name to that long list.
Joshua humbly congratulated Ruiz for the victory on Twitter saying “This is Andy’s night, congratulations Champ.” Even former UFC champion Conor McGregor chimed in on the upset. “It is never over until it’s over with the Mexicans. God bless them. Congrats Andy Ruiz.”
The world will never forget the night the first boxer of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight title was crowned.
Many online acknowledged not only the upset but who Ruiz is as a person and what he represents. “Congratulations Andy Ruiz Jr – you are a real-life Rocky 👏👏👏👏👏 Viva Le Mexico, I hope this is going to inspire the next generation,” one Twitter user said.
Another Twitter user said Ruiz represents the best of Mexicans with the hard nose victory. “They might be born in the US but they know damn straight to represent 🇲🇽🇲🇽 because we have fucking heart and the drive. They have that Mexican blood and that’s what counts.”
Ruiz represents the best of us all. Counted down but never out. His story is one of many that brings pride and true resilience in the face of adversity.
“I wanted to prove everybody wrong, all the doubters thinking I was going to lose,” Ruiz said. “I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.”