By: Kirk Jackson
A bomb detonated Saturday night and it was set off in historic fashion. Becoming the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent and arguably striking the biggest upset since Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas, the 29-year-old Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KO’s) of southern California, powered by Snickers, pulled off one of the greatest upsets in heavyweight history this weekend.
The unglorified dark horse, knocked off 25-1 favorite Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KO’s), to win the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in the British star’s United States debut at Madison Square Garden.
Joshua was knocked down twice – respectively in the third and seventh rounds. Although noticeably weary, Joshua rose to his feet a second time in the seventh round, but Joshua, without his mouthpiece and blood flowing from his nose, backed into his own corner, appearing disinterested in continuing the incoming onslaught.
And just like that, the champion’s reign ended. Ruiz elevates to the top of the boxing world with his amazing accomplishment. Much respect to the champion, well-earned victory.
Now that the short-lived sovereignty of Joshua is over, how will his story ultimately play out? Especially considering this wasn’t just a TKO stoppage, many observers believe Joshua quit.
At the very least, the former champion appeared visibly disinterested, as it seemed he was searching for a way out. Ask Roberto Duran and we’ll also find out in the case of Amir Khan, the stench of “Quit” is hard to rinse off.
Joshua was heralded by many across media; especially the British-media across the pond, as the best heavyweight across the board.
But due to a matter of circumstances, in which kept Joshua from unifying against the WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO’s), or from facing the last Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (27-0-1, (19 KO’s), must is still left to be desired from the career of Joshua.
He wasn’t a true champion. His whole career was consisted of lies, contradictions and gifts.
Facts and now we know who was running from who!!!!#TilThisDay
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) June 2, 2019
“He wasn’t a true champion. His whole career was consisted of lies, contradictions and gifts. Facts and now we know who was running from who,” Wilder stated after Joshua’s shocking defeat.
An argument now especially can be made regarding Wilder’s remarks. Continuous back and forth manifested between the camps of Wilder and Joshua – which resulted in a game of wait and see (leaving fans from both sides disappointed).
Wilder supporters accusing Joshua of avoiding the destructive punching power of the Bomb Squad captain, while the Joshua supports poked fun at Wilder’s fighting style and resume.
In light of the recent highlight reel stylized knock-out of challenger to both Wilder and Joshua – Dominic Breazeale (20-2, (18 KO’s), along with Joshua’s recent folly, Wilder and his supporters appear to hold more weight in with their claims.
More from Wilder with 78 Sports TV below:
Now, much is left to question what transpires next for the fallen king. His promoter suggested a rematch-clause in the contract, with a scheduled rematch towards the end of the year and this time in the United Kingdom.
“Now we’ll see what AJ’s about. At least we know who his opponent is for the end of the year,” his promoter Eddie Hearn said in a post-fight interview.
Whether Joshua exercises his rematch, or bounces back remains to be witnessed. Prior to the fight, Joshua commented on retirement if he were to subject himself to tough fights.
In spite of the pre-fight conversation, he claims to still have a long time left in the sport.
“We are still young in the sport. Still a long way to go,” Joshua told iFL TV in a post-fight interview. “I have still got another nine years. Fighters can go on until they are 40 now. I am still only 29, so I have still got a long time.”
The story isn’t necessarily over for Joshua, as many champions past and present bounced back triumphant in casted their own redemption story. IBO, IBF and (Super) WBA Super welterweight champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams (27-1-1, 16 KO’s) and WBC Super welterweight champion Tony “Super Bad” Harrison (28-2, 21 KO’s) are prime examples.
Fellow Brit and heavyweight great Lennox Lewis is another example for Joshua to reference. Fury again is also another reference for Joshua.
We have our back and Forth’s but @anthonyfjoshua changed his stars through life. heavyweight boxing, these things happen, rest up, recover, regroup and come again 👊🏼
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) June 2, 2019
Whether it’s the rematch with Ruiz, or an eventual showdown against Wilder or Fury – in which may very well go down as missed opportunities, Joshua will be associated with one of the biggest shockwaves in heavyweight boxing history.
How he’ll be remembered is yet to be determined.