Boxing

Andy Ruiz is BACK…and so is Deontay Wilder

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Image for Andy Ruiz is BACK…and so is Deontay Wilder

Former unified world heavyweight champ Andy Ruiz, who shook the world in stopping 3-belt champ Anthony Joshua in June of 2019, put in a solid performance in beating Luis Ortiz Sunday night via unanimous decision. The Mexican-American big man would drop the skilled Cuban three times en route to the victory in the WBC title eliminator bout at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, atop a Fox Sports PBC pay-per-view event.

The win not only puts Ruiz in line for a world title shot, it also marks his true return to the boxing main stage. With only one tepid victory over a faded Chris Arreola since his disappointing rematch defeat to Anthony Joshua back in December of 2019, the “Destroyer” was in desperate need of a big win. He got that win on Sunday, against an opponent in Ortiz who was no worse than a Top 6 or 7 heavyweight.

It wasn’t always a stirring battle, as there was a lot of tactical boxing chess going on at times, but it had flashes of brilliance and, overall, was an entertaining boxing match between two legitimately skilled and tenacious fighters.

“I’m ready, man. I’m hungry,” Ruiz told Fox Sports in the post-fight interview. “I want to be champion again and bring that belt back to Mexico!”

The former unified champ would also address the proverbial elephant in the room, talking about a possible big-ticket bout with fellow former world champ Deontay Wilder.

“If Deontay wins in October, me and him are with the same management and we can make this fight happen,” Ruiz said. “Let’s get it on.”

Wilder, meanwhile, made a comeback of his own Sunday night.

“The Bronze Bomber,” who’s scheduled to face Robert Helenius on October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was all over the place at Crypto.com Arena– called inside the ring by Team Ruiz, consoling Luis Ortiz and his family backstage, and even giving a sit-down interview with the Spanish language broadcast team.

“It was a great fight as I thought it would be. Ortiz just came up short tonight. I thought he should have let his hands go a little bit more. He was very cautious,” Wilder told Fighthype.com.

“All praises to Andy. He put up a great fight. He fought the right fight, so you’ve got to give a big up to him…

“Overall, it was a great fight, and I think people got their money’s worth for sure. I definitely got mine.”

When asked if he’d like a crack at Ruiz, should he get past Helenius, Wilder was pretty upfront.

“Most definitely, that’s what it looks like the road is going…Everybody is hinting about that fight. When you’re at a fight, most likely, the powers that be are trying to line something up. We’ll see what happens.”

Wilder would also be asked about the possibility of facing 3-belt world heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk, should WBC titlist Tyson Fury price himself out of a unification bout with his reported $500 million asking price.

“If he overprices himself for that fight, they know where to find me. Five hundred million is definitely pricing himself out. I’m here. Deontay Wilder is back. I’m here to make the division strong and exciting again.

“I’m here for all the smoke, but we’ll see what happens. Boxing is strictly a business, and you got to treat it accordingly. We’ll see what the business is and how it’s being handled for that fight to happen.

“I’m in the heavyweight division, so I’m up for anyone in the heavyweight division.”

All in all, Sunday saw the reemergence of two key players in the heavyweight division– two key AMERICAN players. That’s good news for the US boxing scene as well as for the heavyweight division as a whole.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com