Andy Ruiz Jr. Returns
Former unified heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KO's) of Imperial, California returns to the ring as he takes on fellow Mexican heavyweight slugger Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KO's) of Riverside, California this Saturday, May 1st at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California headlining the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View.
“It’s great to be back. I feel really good right now with all the hard work we’ve put in at the gym. I know Arreola is training hard as well and looking good, so we’re ready for whatever he brings on fight night," Andy Ruiz Jr. said.
Becoming the first Mexican heavyweight champion in boxing history, Ruiz shocked the world nearly two years ago in June with his knockout over Anthony Joshua at New York's famed Madison Square Garden in winning the WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles. It was a huge victory for Ruiz Jr. and Mexico as he met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Unfortunately the reign didn't last too long for Ruiz. Joshua exercised his clause for an immediate rematch. Six months later, December 2019, Ruiz Jr. dropped a unanimous decision to Anthony Joshua in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Ruiz relinquished the heavyweight titles in the rematch despite being out of shape, he gave Joshua all he can handle.
“Losing my last fight was devastating. I didn’t do the things that I was supposed to do," Ruiz on his defeat.
Following the defeat to Joshua in the rematch, Ruiz faced massive criticism from boxing fans. Speculations began about an unfocused training camp which began in Guadalajara, Mexico but concluded in Southern California. Late dinners and social gatherings with some of Mexico's elite and top politician's served as a distraction according to his father Andy Ruiz Sr. immediately following the rematch in an interview with ESPN.
"I had been waiting to become champion my whole life and I started doing things I never thought I would be able to do. I don’t want to make those same mistakes again, and that’s a big part of what’s motivating me," Ruiz said.
As a result in wake of the rematch defeat, Ruiz Jr. parted ways with trainer Manny Robles.
While the entire world quarantined at the beginning stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Ruiz made the most of the quarantine by deciding to team up with 2019 Trainer of the Year Eddie Reynoso. Ruiz joins Team Canelo and a stable of champions which includes Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Oscar Valdez, Julio Cesar Martinez, Luis Nery, and Ryan Garcia.
“I chose Eddy because this is where the champions train. Everyone here is dedicated and disciplined. I felt like I needed to make this change and it’s really something that I should have done a long time ago," Andy Ruiz on joining Eddy Reynoso and team Canelo stable. "I’ve learned different abilities that I can do during this training camp. I can throw different punches and combinations fighting at this weight. I was always a fighter who could come forward, but now I can switch it up. I can’t wait to show it on May 1.”
“The most important thing for Andy is the discipline and his mentality. Those are the main aspects we’ve been working on. From there, we have the building blocks to get better each and every day with everything we want to do. The talent and intelligence has always been there for Andy. It’s a pleasure to work with him. He’s done everything I’ve asked of him so far," Trainer Eddie Reynoso on teaming up with Andy Ruiz Jr.
Coming into this fight, Ruiz appears to be transformed as he is currently weighing 257 lbs. and looks outstanding. In comparison to the two fights with Joshua. In the first fight Ruiz came in at 268 lbs. and came in heavy for the rematch at 283 lbs. There is no question about it, Andy Ruiz Jr. is ready for his showdown with Arreola.
“Now that I’ve been dropping weight the right way, I feel amazing. I feel like I can do a lot more things that I couldn’t do before because of my body. The sky is the limit for me. I come to the gym with a smile on my face now. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m a lot better than I was before. I just have to keep working and stay disciplined. I have to be in the gym, even when I don’t have a fight date. It’s got to be a lifestyle. The main thing I’ve learned here is discipline. That’s something you can’t buy, you have to do it on your own. You have to want it," Andy Ruiz on his preparation. "I’ve learned so much here. We try to perfect every punch and every movement. I’m not just a fighter who comes forward. I have more abilities. Losing weight is going to let me show more of what I can do," Ruiz added.
“I’m really excited for this fight. You’re going to see a new Andy Ruiz Jr. both physically and mentally. You’re going to see him become champion again. I can’t wait for this step on May 1," Eddie Reynoso said.
Arreola a four-time world title challenger came up short in his fights for the title as he was stopped by Vitali Klitschko in 2009, was defeated a pair of times by Bermaine Stiverne, dropping a decision in 2013 and was brutally stopped in 2014. In his last quest for a world title Arreola was stopped by Deontay Wilder in 2016.
"Arreola is a warrior who can take a lot of punches. He’s strong, but we’re going to stick to the game plan and remain disciplined," Ruiz on Arreola. “Chris and I sparred when I was 16-years-old. We’ve both had the same dreams and the same vision. We’ve had great careers. My dad has always said that me and him were going to fight one day and now it’s right around the corner," Ruiz said.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough fight against Arreola. These are two fighters who had the same upbringing. There’s going to be nowhere to hide in the ring and they’re going to bring out the best in each other.” Reynoso said about the fight.
Despite all that Ruiz is not taking Arreola lightly.
"We’re both warriors. We don’t give up. We love to receive punches and give them back," Ruiz said.
History will be made in this fight as you will have the first Mexican Heavyweight pay-per view fight. There have always been pay-per view fights in which Mexican fighters have served as the headliner but never in the history has there been Mexican heavyweights.
"This is going to be an all-action fight," Ruiz promised.
Now Ruiz begins his next quest for a second world title.
"I just want to stay disciplined for this fight and all of the big fights coming up in my future,"
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla