Andy Ruiz Jr. pulled off a stunning performance on Sunday night, dropping veteran contender Luiz Ortiz thrice, en route to a unanimous decision at the Crypto Arena in Los Angeles.
The fight which served as a WBC heavyweight title eliminator seemed basically decided by the trio of knockdowns with Judges Eddie Hernandez and Zachary Young scoring the fight 114 – 111, while Fernando Villareal scoring it 113-112, all in favour of Ruiz Jr.
The fight started out at a slow pace, with Ruiz Jr, jabbing Ortiz for most of the round but failing to connect a good shot. Ortiz was the better fighter, manoeuvring through the Ruiz’s Jab and connecting his combinations.
Ortiz looked comfortable and seemed to be enjoying himself when Ruiz Jr cracked him with a big right hand that sent him scrambling to the canvas in the second round. The referee had a nine count before Ortiz got back to his feet, clearly he had lost his legs and the Mexican dropped him again with a two punch combination.
Ortiz bounced back in the third round, twice wobbling Ruiz Jr in the third round. The latter countered the Cuban with a good left. The 43 year old tried to turn the tide while fighting behind his Jab but failed as Ruiz’s hand speed made the difference, beating him to the punch.
Both mostly seemed cautious in the fourth round. Ortiz fought more from the outside baiting Ruiz Jr with his right while trying to set up a big left. That missed and while moving out of the way, Ruiz gave Ortiz problems with his movements and clipping him using angles.
Ortiz began having some success with his heavy Jab, which he wielded throughout round five. Ruiz Jr couldn’t keep up and was having some swelling and that, some more motivation for Ortiz in round six. Ruiz seemed to be sleeping and Ortiz pounded on him, finishing strong with a big right hand to the chin.
The fight got boring and the crowd were eager for some action, when Ruiz Jr ignited the crowed by dropping Ortiz the third time in the seventh round. Ruiz landed a big right, that gave Ortiz a smirk but that prompted a quick response from Ruiz Jr, who connected a another chopping right to the temple, forcing the Cuban to visit the canvas one more time.
Ortiz was able to beat the count once again and was able to dominate Ruiz Jr in round eight and the latter sure looked to sleep, prompting his trainer to request more action from the Mexican.
Ruiz was then back in the ninth, wobbled Ortiz but the Cuban responded by sending him to the canvas but that was ruled out as a knockdown, the referee ruled a push. That however kept Ruiz at bay and Ortiz capitalised firing on with his lead Jab, ended up controlling most of round ten.
Ortiz was urged to make an urgent surge in the eleventh round but the Cuban was hesitant to throw more and that left Ruiz no choice but to come out once more, connecting a huge right that Lande flush on Ortiz, causing a swelling on his left eye.
Both fighters came out in the final round, looking to make a final impact but Ortiz came out on top catching Ruiz with a big left hand but that wasn’t enough to save him from the loss.
Ortiz fell to his third career defeat (33-3) 28KOs with the loss and snaps his two fight winning streak, which includes a his stunning performance against Charles Martin on January 1st.
The win for Ruiz takes him one spot away from former long reigning WBC champion Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs), who looks set to battle Robert Helenius on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View in October. Wilder will look to bounce back from his pair of losses to Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs)