‘One of the biggest upsets in history’: Ruiz dismantles Joshua in huge shock in New York
Few would have predicted the beating dished out by Mexican-American Ruiz, who put Joshua down four times before winning via stoppage in the seventh round.
It was among the greatest upsets in boxing history as massive favorite Joshua suffered the first defeat of his professional career and was relieved of his IBF, WBO and WBA titles – as well the carefully built-up narrative that the Brit was supposedly establishing himself as among the greats.
Joshua floored Ruiz in the third round, but was ultimately well and truly beaten in an upset arguably to rival Mike Tyson’s famous loss to Buster Douglas and Lennox Lewis’ defeat to Hasim Rahman.
Ruiz, a 25-1 outsider, had only taken the fight at six weeks’ notice, having been drafted in when Jarrell Miller failed a drugs test.
Joshua was making his long-awaited US bow in front of 19,000 fans at the hallowed Madison Square Garden, and Ruiz’s physique compared to his British opponent’s well-chiseled frame had been the particular source of humor for many heading into the bout.
But after the Mexican-American pulled off a stunning upset, social media was abuzz with shock as well as fans pummeling Joshua for a shambolic performance.
OMG! OMG! I cannot believe this S$&@$! Anthony Joshua — holder of 3 belts, gets TKO’d by Butter Bean.......I mean some dude named Andy Ruiz JR. What a damn disgrace. Joshua looked completely gassed! More fatigued than hurt! Now how in the Hell did you let that happen? How?— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 2, 2019
Others, inevitably, pointed to Joshua's pledge ahead of the fight that he would break the infamous 'Drake Curse', after posing with the rapper who has supposedly cast a jinx on anyone he supports.
Joshua remained stoic in defeat, vowing to come back stronger than ever, and earned some consolation from heavyweight rival Tyson Fury.
One man less sympathetic was WBC champion Deontay Wilder, the man many had expected Joshua to face should he come through Ruiz.
That storyline has now been shattered, however, with Joshua forced back to the drawing board after being on the wrong end of one of the biggest shocks in the sport's history.