Andy Ruiz Jr. Recollects His Early Days in Boxing- ‘I Had to Fight 12-Year-Old’

Published 01/02/2021, 10:10 AM EST
Andy Ruiz Jr. during his fight against Anthony Joshua in their IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Championship contest at the Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)


Andy Ruiz Jr, the former heavyweight world champion, became the first and only man from Mexico to clinch the title in 2019. In the process, he knocked out the undefeated Anthony Joshua and also became the first and only man to beat ‘AJ’.

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It instantly turned him into a superstar, and Ruiz Jr. started garnering huge attention. However, he was a top-rated boxer even before the big win.

‘The Destroyer’ boasts of a professional record of 33 wins (22 KOs) with  2 losses, and none of those defeats came via stoppage. Although he was an underdog against Joshua, he proved himself an elite by outpointing his adversary inside the ring.

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After the fight, Andy Ruiz Jr. connected with Jimmy Kimmel to reveal how he began boxing. While his overweight and huge size billed him as the underdog against Joshua, the same factor made him a looming prodigy back in his amateur days.

Recalling his first entrance into the combat world, Ruiz Jr. said, “I was six years old when I first went into a gym and (in) my first amateur fight I was 7 years old.

“My dad said I was going to fight in San Diego. I was the big, heavy kid. Nobody was in my weight at that age. So I had to fight 12-years-old, 13-years-old.”

He added, “When I was 7-years-old and what you know? I was beating them. That’s crazy.”

Andy Ruiz Jr– Where does he stand now?

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The Mexican lost his world titles to Joshua in the rematch in December 2019, which was billed as ‘Clash On the Dunes’. Since then, Andy Ruiz Jr changed his training partners, and a lot has happened.

While he was out of action for the entirety of 2020, Andy Ruiz Jr. envisions a return in early 2021. Currently, Ruiz Jr is under the guidance of Eddy Reynoso, one of the finest boxing trainers of the era.

Andy Ruiz Jr. with a cut above his left eye during his fight against Anthony Joshua in their IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Championship contest at the Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

He is also shedding some weight and expects to sport a strong core in his return. His fans are eagerly waiting for his comeback, and Ruiz Jr is still relevant in the title picture. One or two wins and he can challenge the current divisional heads for the heavyweight titles.

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Raj Sarkar

1644 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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