At the weekend, Anthony Joshua’s experienced his first defeat, at the hands of Mexican-American fighter, Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden, New York. It was Joshua’s first fight stateside and he was looking to impress against the 25-1 outsider. Instead, in what is likely to be seen as one of the biggest shocks in heavyweight boxing history, he was systematically outboxed over the seven round fight, after initially putting down Ruiz in the 3rd round. His desire to end the fight there and then, resulted in him getting caught himself, and hitting the deck twice that same round. He went on to get put down twice more in the 7th round before the referee put an end to the bout.
Some have posited that he may have been concussed and didn’t ever recover from the 3rd round knock downs. Other say he underestimated the abilities Ruiz, or could not get motivated for the fight with so many other big name bouts to look to down the line (Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder) . It’s of course perfectly possibly that Andy Ruiz Jr is actually much better than people realise, and will go on to achieve further success. While he certainly doesn’t look the part, his shape belies his speed, and he has a tidy defense too. Joshua on the other hand, has never come across as someone built for endurance, and just couldn’t seem to get to Ruiz without being on the end of a flurry of counter punches. He didn’t appear to be able to adjust to what was in front of him.
Along with his unbeaten record Anthony Joshua has lost his impressive collection of belts: International Boxing Federation World Heavyweight Title, International Boxing Organization World Heavyweight Title, World Boxing Association Super World Heavyweight Title and World Boxing Organisation World Heavyweight Title. There is thought to be a rematch clause and so hopefully he’ll get a chance to bounce back, but for now some pundits are re-evaluating his place in the heavyweight division. Ruiz becomes Mexico’s first Heavyweight Champion.
It’s a shame that the revival of the heavyweight division in boxing has been somewhat put on hold by the deals that the key players have signed (Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder) with various TV networks and streaming services. In splashing the cash to the tune of tends of millions, it’s not really in their interests to go straight for the epic encounters the fans all want to see. Nevertheless, we’ll of course still be tuning into the exploits of these three in the hope that eventually two of them will cross paths in a no doubt memorable match-up.
With all of this attention placed on the trio, the three fighters are looking to impress, and Deontay got the first chance to do that in his WBC world heavyweight title defense against Dominic Breazeale on May 18th in New York. After controversial comments earlier this week about wanting a ‘body on his result’ Wilder made fast work of the encounter, and added yet another knock out to his record, now standing at 40 knock outs from 41 wins (and one draw – against Tyson Fury – aka the Undertaker!).
Despite the brevity of the bout, Breazeale did land a couple of good punches while defending himself from the barrage, and they did appear to slow Wilder in his tracks for a moment. Wilder’s knock out moments later though was a stark demonstration of his devastating power. It’s an exciting time in the heavyweight division, with Anthony Joshua taking on Andy Ruiz Jr on 1st June and Tyson Fury vs Tom Schwarz on 15th June. Both fights are stateside, so fans in the UK are in for a late night!