It is not hard to come up with the most memorable fight of 2019, and maybe in recent memory. No, you don’t have to look any further than what Andy Ruiz did on a June night in New York, stunning the unified heavyweight champion of the world, Anthony Joshua.
It was supposed to be a coronation for Joshua’s latest title defense and first ever fight in the United States. And, it would be held inside of famed Madison Square Garden.
But ,when the proposed-opponent for the unbeaten Joshua, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, failed a pre-fight drug test, Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn would be left scrambling for an opponent just a couple of months from the scheduled fight date.
That’s when they settled on lightly regarded, but somewhat credible, California heavyweight Ruiz.
And, that famous matchmaking mistake set into motion one of the biggest upsets in Heavyweight Championship history.
The blubbery Ruiz stepped through the ropes, as a worldwide unknown and massive underdog, with over 90% of the crowd in New York waiting for him to be dispatched in short order by Joshua.
Instead, to his credit, after being knocked down in the third round, Ruiz got up and fired bombs back putting Joshua down twice in that same wild frame.
'One Night: Joshua vs. Ruiz is' a comprehensive look at the night @andy_destroyer1 pulled off the biggest boxing upsets in decades.
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) October 24, 2019
Ruiz stunningly finished off the upset knocking Joshua down twice more in the 7th round before referee Michael Griffin waved the fight off and sent the heavyweight division into partial chaos.
While Ruiz’s victory that June night in the Big Apple didn’t quite reach the summit of Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in Tokyo in 1990, it’s definitely in the same conversation for “all time stunners.”
Now, we will also make mention of a fantastic 12 round toe-to-toe brawl from Julian “J Rock” Williams and “Swift” Jarret Hurd, in Virginia, three weeks earlier. Williams scored an early second round knockdown of the champ Hurd, and fought valiantly in front of Hurd for 12 rounds.
This, as both fighters bombed each other with big punches round after round. Williams scored the unanimous decision to take Hurd’s WBA and IBF 154 lb. titles.
Great fight, but “J Rock’s” upset is not quite the same as Ruiz.
Finally, as you probably know by now, Anthony Joshua put in a very effective game plan and workmanlike effort in the recent December rematch in Saudi Arabia. And, he got his titles back via 12-round decision.
Still, no one will ever be able to erase what Andy Ruiz did, almost out of nowhere, handing Joshua his first pro loss in humiliating fashion and completing the most compelling, memorable fight of the year