Andy Ruiz Jr’s incredible journey from being forced to box aged 6 and smashing his toys to cutting out fast food and becoming world champion

ANDY RUIZ JR wakes up today the heavyweight champion of the world having once again proven his doubters wrong – just like he has been doing all his life.

Ruiz produced one of the biggest upsets in boxing history as he destroyed Anthony Joshua in seven rounds in New York.

Nobody gave the California-based Mexican a prayer as he went in against the previously unbeaten Brit at Madison Square Garden but he defied all the experts by dismantling Joshua.

And in claiming the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles the 29-year-old has capped a career in boxing which started at the age of six.

A journey which had seem him plod along largely under the radar for so long that his previous fight before Joshua was staged during the day on a university campus.

Ruiz first laced up the gloves as a six-year-old when he was barred from trying to play baseball by his father Andres Ruiz Sr and told to take up boxing instead.

He took to the sport well, displaying impressive hand speed and skills to carve out an amateur career under Cuban trainer Fernando Ferrer which saw him finish with a record of 105 wins and five defeats.

Yet even from an early age the problems with his weight caused problems – so much so that by the age of 12 he was so big he was not allowed to fight other kids and forced to take on adults instead.

But he still didn't develop enough pedigree to come through qualifying for the Mexican team for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

That left him turning professional aged 19, winning on debut against Miguel Ramirez with a first round stoppage.

There was still not much of a buzz around him, though, or his chances of climbing the ladder to international standard let alone world champion.

His nickname as "The Destroyer" was not even given to him because of his punching power, but because he was so clumsy as a kid he always broke his toys.

Ruiz said: "They called me the Destroyer because I was always destroying stuff. They'd buy me a toy and the next day I would break it.”

Quietly he built a career in the pro game and had climbed up the rankings just enough to be pencilled in for a WBO world title eliminator against Hughie Fury in 2016 – only for it to be cancelled.

He went on to challenge WBO champion Joseph Parker in December of the same year, but lost on a narrow majority decision in New Zealand.

That left him well away from being considered as a genuine candidate for any of the world titles over the past few years as Joshua, Wilder an Tyson Fury all vied for the crown as the best on the planet.


Promoter Bob Arum said: "Even though he was winning, nobody would credit him as being legitimate because he looked like a slob – it was always, 'Yeah, he's a fat slob but his hands are so fast'.

“But he wasn't pleasing when he fought."

In a desperate attempt to force his way into the reckoning Ruiz embarked on a diet, losing a stone-and-a-half by ditching the takeaways he loved.

He said: "A lot of stuff, all the fast food, the cheap food, the dollar menu – I had to cut all that off.

"You can train so hard and eat bad stuff and you're training for no reason."


Ruiz was left outside the top 15 in the world rankings, hoping for the chance to take on a name to throw himself back into the mix.

Even he was surprised when he got the call from the Joshua camp at six weeks' notice following Jarrell Miller's failed drugs tests.

But it was the opportunity he had been waiting for to prove he could be the the main man – and despite his tubby frame he delivered when it mattered most to sit on top of the world.

And possibly for the first time in his life, no one is doubting him now.

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