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Andy Ruiz Jr vows to come back stronger after loss to Anthony Joshua

The now-former titleholder says he’s had time to reflect, and has a renewed drive.

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua - Diriyah Arena Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Andy Ruiz Jr dropped the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles last Saturday in Saudi Arabia, losing a wide and clear decision in his rematch with Anthony Joshua.

Much of the blame for Ruiz’s unquestionably poor performance was put on his weight; Ruiz came in at 283 pounds for the fight, 15 pounds heavier than he was six months prior when he upset Joshua and shocked the world. It was also Ruiz’s heaviest weight since his second pro bout back in 2009.

Ruiz (33-2, 22 KO) is vowing to come back stronger following the defeat:

“I’ve had time to reflect since my fight on Saturday,” Ruiz wrote on Instagram. “Congrats to Anthony. He did what he needed to do. Now it’s time for me to do what I need to do.

“I’ll be back stronger. I WILL be a champion once again. I appreciate all the love and support from my true fans. I appreciate the haters as well and can’t wait to prove the haters wrong once again. Back to the gym. Let’s start this journey to the belts.”

There’s really no question that the 30-year-old Ruiz can flat-out fight. He’s never going to come out to the ring ripped like Anthony Joshua or lean like Deontay Wilder, or probably even “a little flabby for a boxer” like Tyson Fury generally does. He’s always going to look like “the fat boxer,” but if the guy is around even 265 pounds, he can go. He’s got skills, he can bang, and he’s tough.

Weight concern is not a new theme in Ruiz’ career, obviously. It’s always been a question with him, and those of us who paid attention to him before 2019 have heard this story plenty of times before, about how Ruiz has been working on his conditioning, he plans to be more trim next time out, etc. In fact, for a few years, it seemed like that was what everyone promoting him was waiting on as he was treading water in various bouts.

It’s never really showed up on the scales, though. Any idea that Andy Ruiz Jr is going to ever weigh in at 230 pounds should be dismissed, that’s just not who he is. But it’s not about that sort of extreme, either. He won three world heavyweight title belts at 268. He nearly won one back in 2016 at 255¾, giving Joseph Parker a hell of a fight in New Zealand.

If Ruiz can dedicate to the level he has before this last fight, he should be fine, and he’ll get every chance to prove “the haters” wrong once more.

Personally, just as a boxing fan, I’m rooting for him. The sport is always better off with a good heavyweight division, and Ruiz can no doubt be a big part of that if he finds the focus once more. I’m not looking for some miracle where he turns up looking like Bryant Jennings; just regular old “hero to portly lads everywhere” Ruiz will do.

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