Coming up in September, former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz will be back in the ring for just the second time in over two and half years when he faces fellow contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz. And, still to this day Ruiz thinks about how he lost his rematch (and briefly held WBA/IBF?WBO world titles) to Britain’s Anthony Joshua and how quickly it all unraveled.
Joshua recently spoke one on one with our insider Dan Rafael, as he prepares to battle Ortiz and elaborated on what it’s been like psychologically on the comeback trail.
“I feel things happened so fast…My dreams came true. Instead of me going back to the gym, I forgot about the rematch clause that I had…It just happened so fast. I kinda got a little depressed. I got a little mad at myself.
To this day, I’m still a little mad at myself. But, I still gotta climb up the ladders, use that as motivation, where if I do get the chance to win and become a champion again, I know exactly what not to do and what to do.”
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) shocked the boxing world in June 2019, when he was brought in as a late replacement to face heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua. Ruiz turned the tables on the champion at Madison Square Garden, knocking him out in the seventh round and taking home the three titles. But, almost as quickly, the 32-year-old from Imperial, California lost his rematch with Joshua by unanimous decision in December of that year in Saudi Arabia.
He has since returned to the ring in May 2021, bouncing back from an early knockdown to defeat veteran contender Chris Arreola by unanimous decision in a FOX Sports/PBC Pay-Per-View. But, even though that seemed to get him back on track last year, Ruiz also suffered a knee injury that required minor surgery and set his timetable for a second fight post-Joshua back.
Enter the battle with the Cuban Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) who has been a fixture atop heavyweight rankings for years. Oritz is most prominently known for his two memorable contests against former longtime WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but both ended in KO losses..
Ortiz does have victories in recent years over Travis Kauffman, Christian Hammer and Razvan Cojanu. And, most recently, Ortiz topped a FOX Sports/PBC Pay-Per-View back on New Year’s Day, recovering from early adversity to floor former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin on his way to a sixth-round knockout.
You can hear more from Ruiz with Dan about the matchup with Ortiz and his hopes of getting back in the title picture later this week on our Big Fight Weekend Preview Podcast out Friday.