By: Hans Themistode
It was about as improbable a win as you’ll find.
Andy Ruiz Jr. made his way to the ring on June 1st, 2019, seemingly, without a prayer in the world. Waiting on him, was unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua. As most of the betting public waited patiently to see what round Ruiz Jr. would get knocked out in, the Mexican star had other ideas.
Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) would dust himself off following a third round knockdown, only to drop Joshua four times before ultimately stopping him in the seventh. With the win, Ruiz Jr. became the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight title. But while he was proud of the achievement, his moment in the sun proved to be transient as Joshua easily took care of business in their rematch six months later to reclaim his world titles.
With many now under the impression that his win was nothing more than a lucky punch, Ruiz Jr. appears determined to prove his doubters wrong.
“Andy wants to prove to everybody that it wasn’t just coincidence or luck or a fluke,” said former four-division champion Mikey Garcia during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “He wants to make sure that he gets that title shot again.”
The road to that aforementioned title shot begins this Saturday night as Ruiz Jr. steps into the ring for the first time in roughly a year and a half against fringe contender, Chris Arreola. The two are set to bang it out in the center of the ring with a chance to move up the heavyweight ladder on FOX pay-per-view.
In an effort to prove that he is no longer the same fighter that walked into his rematch against Joshua as both overweight and unenthused, Ruiz Jr. has hooked up with world-renowned trainer, Eddy Reynoso. With the pair working with each other for well over a year, the former heavyweight belt holder has made drastic physical improvements. Regardless of his outward appearance, Garcia has always stood firmly in his corner. He rose to his feet and cheered loudly as Ruiz Jr. took care of business the first time around against Joshua. Garcia also criticized Ruiz Jr. for his lack of discipline as he came into their rematch grotesquely overweight.
Now, with his close friend getting into the best shape of his life, Garcia believes there’s no doubt that he’ll once again drape gold around his shoulders sooner rather than later.
“Definitely, I think he can. If he stays dedicated I definitely think he can. He has to get past Chris but I definitely think he can. Look, he’s got fast hands, he has the power to do it just like the first time. He’s got a great trainer with Eddy and he seems to be very disciplined. He slimmed down, losing 30 pounds is a lot of f*cking weight.”