Joshua loses heavyweight belts in stunning defeat to Ruiz Jr
Anthony Joshua lost all three of his belts to challenger Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday.
Andy Ruiz Jr defied the odds to sensationally upstage Anthony Joshua and dethrone the unified world heavyweight champion via a seventh-round TKO.
Joshua was expected to make light work of Ruiz Jr, who replaced Jarrell Miller for the Madison Square Garden showdown after he failed a drugs test, in his United States debut on Saturday.
However, Joshua lost his WBA, IBF and WBO belts after the referee dramatically stopped the fight in the seventh round in New York.
It was a stunning comeback by Ruiz Jr (33-1), who was sent to the canvas in the third round before dropping Joshua twice in response as the British star struggled to make it to the bell.
Joshua (22-1) appeared to find his feet but he was floored twice again in the seventh, which prompted the end to the fight in front of a shocked crowd following the huge upset – snapping his unbeaten 22-fight record.
Amid growing calls for a blockbuster clash with WBC holder Deontay Wilder, Joshua had warned of a dangerous clash against Ruiz Jr – who had won 32 of his previous 33 professional fights.
Was this the biggest shock in heavyweight boxing history? 🥊— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) 2 June 2019
Anthony Joshua was shocked by Andy Ruiz Jr in a monumental heavyweight upset at Madison Square Garden: https://t.co/3Tl3sSp2VP pic.twitter.com/qy6r4omqDP
It was a cagey opening round at Madison square Garden, where Anthony towered over his American-born Mexican opponent.
Ruiz Jr came out swinging at the start of the second but Joshua managed to keep his distance, with the Brit's superior reach working to his advantage.
The fight dramatically came to life in the third round as the two heavyweights traded blows – Joshua the first to send Ruiz Jr to the canvas inside a minute.
Ruiz Jr took his time to find his feet and just as Joshua looked to have another win in the bag, the challenger responded in stunning fashion by taking down the champion.
Joshua – out of breath and struggling – was saved by the bell after he was backed into the corner and sent to the canvas, with Ruiz Jr closing in.
The fourth, fifth and sixth rounds followed a similar pattern as Joshua patiently waited for an opening but it did not come.
Instead, Ruiz Jr unleashed a flurry of punches which Joshua could not cope with as the former emerged triumphant in remarkable scenes.