Meet the self-proclaimed “fat kid” that could be the heavyweight king of boxing next Sunday morning.
At 115kg Andy Ruiz could not be a more polar opposite contender to heavyweight beast Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title.
The California-based Mexican fighter has been mocked around the world ahead of his title shot against Joshua on June 2 — but he couldn’t care less.
Ruiz has written an extraordinary port on Instagram along with a photo of himself and his family back when he was a chunky child.
Now he’s one punch away from being a boxing immortal.
“Who would of guessed this fat kid coming from a small lil town would do something in his life hahahaha,” Ruiz wrote.
“All i can say is dream big work hard never give up and never listen to anyone that puts u down and believe in yourself and in GOD everything is possible trust me i thank God for everything he did for me and my family DREAM BIG BABY.”
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Joshua has never underestimated Ruiz and says the fight will be decided by who has the bigger heart — rather than who has the more impressive physique when they step into the ring.
“It’s not about what you look like, it’s a craft, a skill and what’s in your heart and your head that matters in the end,” he said, according to thesun.co.uk.
“Andy has shown he has all that, he can fight and box, that’s what matters. I think Andy is a great challenger and will bring it on June 2.
“All I’ve heard is ‘AJ will smash him in a round’. From the outside they think that anyone can box, so how is the guy that doesn’t look like a fighter able to box?
“I always say that if you put ten bodybuilders in the ring, not one of them could fight for a regional title in boxing.
“Take me out of my body but keep the same attributes; same height, same jab, same chin, same heart and same mind, but I looked different, I’d still get to the same position I am in because it’s what is within you that makes a champion.”
Ruiz Jr’s only defeat came at the hands of then WBO boss Joseph Parker in 2016, in his New Zealand home, and judges anywhere else in the world might have favoured the 29-year-old.
The Destroyer has used his fast hands to stop 21 of his opponents, including 6ft 7in giant Alexander Dimitrenko in April, and Josh believes he is in for a serious test.
“He’s keen, he’s game and you cannot knock him. He can fight and he’s got hands.
“He gave a world champion in Joseph Parker lots of problems.
“Andy is championship level for sure and I have not underestimated him one bit.”
At 32-1, Ruiz is a legitimate title contender — but not according to some boxing commentators.
Showtime boxing presenter Jim Gray on Sunday took a brutal swipe at Ruiz and knocked out challenger Dominic Breazeale following his first round loss to American weapon Deontay Wilder.
Gray, on live television suggested neither Breazeale or Ruiz were worthy opponents for Wilder and Joshua to fight as the two champions continue to dance around a showdown unification bout.
“With all due respect to these other opponents, the public do not want to see Ruiz, the public does not want to see Dominic Breazeale, the public does not want to see whoever the other guy is who’s fighting Tyson Fury,” Gray said as Breazeale stood a few metres away from him in the ring.
“They want to see you three fight like (Muhammad) Ali fought (Joe) Frazier, Like Ali fought (George) Foreman, like Foreman fought Frazier, so to be recognised in that type of breath for the modern day, you got to get it on, they don’t want to have a whole lot more patience.”