Looks can be deceiving.

Andy Ruiz Jr. pulled off one of the most remarkable upsets in sporting history on Sunday (AEST), stopping the previously undefeated Anthony Joshua in the seventh round of their heavyweight title showdown in Madison Square Garden.

Referee Michael Griffin waved off the now former WBA Super, WBO, IBF, and IBO champion Joshua (22-1-0), who was floored twice in the seventh, after earlier dropping twice in the third.

The world and it seems Joshua himself, underestimated the Mexican-American (33-1-0), who had just the one loss on his record prior to stepping up as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller, but didn’t look like a real contender.

It was supposed to be the US debut and official introduction of a new global superstar in Joshua. Instead, it was the coming out party for Ruiz Jr., who became the first Mexican heavyweight champion in history.

Joshua, who looked a bizarre mismatch for the smaller, wider Ruiz Jr., was looking to make a statement a couple weeks after WBC champion Deontay Wilder’s right hand went viral with a first round finish of Dominic Breazeale.

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And that may be why he went in for the kill so recklessly after dropping Ruiz Jr. in the third round.

Joshua left himself open — as he did throughout the fight — and Ruiz Jr. got back up to hurt the favourite and stun the pro-Joshua crowd in New York during one of the wildest rounds of heavyweight boxing in recent memory.

A dazed Joshua needed to slow things down in the fourth, and looked to have worked his way back into it, before an early seventh round assault from Ruiz Jr. left the giant Brit in all sorts of trouble, as Griffin’s wave sparked wild celebrations from the underdog’s corner.

What just happened?

What just happened?Source: AFP

It likely hadn’t quite sunk in yet for Joshua, who was all smiles after the loss during his post-fight interview. He confirmed he would activate his rematch clause, with promoter Eddie Hearn talking up a second instalment for later this year in the UK.

“Now we’ll see what AJ is about,” Hearn said after the fight.

“I know he’s got a heart of a lion. He’ll be back, he’ll rebuild. At least we know who his opponent is for the end of the year. It’s going to be a big rematch in the UK, and Ruiz deserves it tonight.”

Hearn had talked about being “nervous” ahead of this one, and those that knew Ruiz Jr., understood this was never going to be an easy fight.

“I just feel so good, man,” Ruiz Jr. said after his win. “This is what I’ve been dreaming about, this is what I’ve been working hard for, and I can’t believe I just made my dreams come true.”

The result throws a 121-kilogram spanner in the heavyweight works; what had been a clear Joshua, Wilder, Tyson Fury triangle is now something we never thought possible.

Wilder will fight Luis Ortiz next, and then Fury at the start of 2020, while Joshua now faces a must-win proposition when he rematches Ruiz Jr. before the end of the year.

Winners are grinners.

Winners are grinners.Source: AFP



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