Andy Ruiz Jr defeated Luis Ortiz by unanimous decision on Sunday night in his return to the ring after a year layoff, scoring three impressive knockdowns en route to victory.
The former world heavyweight champion showed flashes of the dangerous hand speed he used to knock out Anthony Joshua in 2019 and called for a fight with Deontay Wilder after victory was confirmed.
The fight, held at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, began with Ortiz trying to reclaim control via his first-minute southpaw.
Ruiz Jr was undeterred, however, and used his famous heavyweight hand speed to catch the Cuban with a couple of clean shots.
However, it was Ortiz who finished the first round stronger as he hit the Mexican-American with a hard left that caught his attention.
In the second, the action opened up as Ruiz Jr hit Ortiz with a stunning right hand to the side of the head.
The Cuban got back to his feet, but not for long as he fell back to the canvas for a second nearfall quickly afterward with his legs still wobbly.
Remarkably though, Ortiz fired back after that and looked to hurt Ruiz Jr with a couple of hard lefts before the bell rang.
In rounds three and four, the Mexican-American boxed more cautiously as a result.
Ruiz Jr’s quick counterattacks continued to trouble Ortiz, although the exchanges were significantly calmer than in the dramatic second.
The fifth and sixth were positives for the Cuban as he avoided many of the shots fired and countered effectively.
By the time they reached the halfway point, Ruiz Jr. appeared ahead with both takedowns in his favor, but Ortiz was re-entering the contest.
The seventh round saw Ruiz Jr less passive as he tried to end that pattern of positivity for Ortiz and dropped him for the third time with another hard and fast right hand.
The speed of the hook to the side of the head was reminiscent of the punches he used to knock out Joshua in 2019.
In the eighth, the Cuban looked to prove once again that he still had a lot of fight left in him and undoubtedly won the round as a result of his more forceful approach.
Ruiz Jr responded by coming out firing in the ninth round, but Ortiz’s counter punches ensured he remained cautious.
The action slowed down until Ortiz went for broke in the final round.
Unfortunately for the Cuban though, Ruiz Jr had no intention of losing his lead and did enough to get to the final bell.
He was awarded the victory by unanimous decision with scores of 113-112, 114-111, 114-111.
Afterwards, he asked for a fight with Deontay Wilder, who was sitting at ringside.
Ruiz Jr said, “God willing, he wins in October. We’re in the same organization. I want to thank Al Haymon. We can make this fight happen and let’s do it, let’s keep it going”
Wilder responded: “Deontay Wilder is back, we’re always looking for big, exciting fights. If that’s what happens next, I’ve got to take care of business, but then we can move on.”
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