Andy Ruiz Jr says losing the world heavyweight titles he won in that shock victory over Anthony Joshua broke his heart.
The Californian stunned AJ at Madison Square Garden in June 2019, handing the Brit his first ever professional defeat to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles.
The story went sour then for the now 32-year-old though – he turned up for the rematch six months later in horrible shape. The result was a resounding points defeat in Saudi Arabia as he struggled to even throw punches in a lame performance.
Now though Ruiz believes he is on the way back to the top, and on Sunday night in Los Angeles he locks horns with veteran danger man Luis Ortiz in an eagerly-awaited FOX Sports PPV.
The bout has been designated as an eliminator for the WBC heavyweight title currently held by Tyson Fury, as has the upcoming Deontay Wilder vs Robert Helenius showdown on October 15 in New York. Which means the winner of this one could end up facing the Wilder/Helenius victory for a shot at the title.
Ruiz bids to make Ortiz statement
Ruiz, who turns 33 in a few days time, says he is ready for the test and out to make a major statement.
He explained: “I feel good and extremely motivated. The first time I saw Ortiz fight live, my dad told me I was going to fight him someday. Now we’re here.
“At the end of the day, we both have the same dream. He wants to make history, but I’m going to have my hand raised up high and I’ll be the one who comes ut victorious.
“I’m trying to make a big statement. Not just for the fans, but for myself. Losing all those titles that I won broke my heart. This is another chance for me to become champion and I don’t want to lose it. I want to take full advantage of it and do my best.
“His plan is to try to knock me out but we’ve trained really hard. If it goes the distance, we trained hard. I’m ready for anything he brings to the ring. Everyone wants a knockout, but if you look for the knockout, you make mistakes and pay the price. That’s what we’ll be waiting for.
“This is the only thing we know how to do. I’ve boxed since I was six-years-old. I never had another job, so I had to work hard in boxing and follow my dreams.”
Boxing not body shape the priority
Ruiz Jr fought last time under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso (he of Canelo Alvarez fame), in a points defeat of Chris Arreola in May 2021. That was his only bout since the Joshua rematch in 2019 and he was significantly lighter, but he says now his focus is on his boxing – not his body shape.
“I focus more on boxing now, because in my last fight I was focused on how I looked. I want to be the part, not look the part. I trained so hard for this moment.
“Beating Luis Ortiz will help me become a world champion again. That’s the reason I’m still fighting. I want to become a two-time world champion.
“All the hard work and dedication, the blood sweat and tears, it’s time for it all to pay off. It’s time to get the victory.”