When Andy Ruiz Jr. lost his unified heavyweight titles to Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia in December 2019, it was an unceremonious end to what was a Cinderella-type of run for Ruiz, who first defeated Joshua to win the WBA, WBO and IBF titles earlier that year.
While Joshua enjoyed the spoils that came with being heavyweight champion throughout 2020, Ruiz quickly became an afterthought, battling depression and figuring out what’s next for his career. It was only then when he first linked up with renowned trainer Eddy Reynoso that a path towards redemption was made clear.
Ruiz was at one point weighing in more than 300 pounds and with no fight over the horizon, things seemed to be bleak for Ruiz. Reynoso, who trains world champions such as Canelo Alvarez and Oscar Valdez, made sure Ruiz understood what would be asked of him if he were to take the former heavyweight champion under his wing.
The 31-year-old Ruiz made a promise to his new trainer that his work ethic will be at its best and befitting of a world champion and of the fighters Reynoso has trained.
“When we first met up, it was, ‘Okay, what do you want? What are we going to do? Are you going to be the same fighter you were before or are you going to take it to the next level like I’m doing with the other fighters?’ I told him, ‘You know what Eddy? I’ll do whatever it takes to become a two-time heavyweight champion of the world.’ That’s when I made my decision. I’m going to give all my discipline, all my sacrifice that I have to prove myself and to prove all my fans [that I can be champion again],” Ruiz told Carlos Toro Media in a press conference.
Having worked with Reynoso now for several months, Ruiz has already seen a positive change in his body, dropping a lot of weight and improving his conditioning. With a newfound discipline installed in him, Ruiz will have a chance to have his hand raised in victory once again when he faces former heavyweight title challenger Chris Arreola on a PBC on FOX PPV main event on May 1.
It’s a crossroads fight for both heavyweights, who would keep their name alive in a busy title picture with a win. A loss would mean several steps back on the road to another title shot and those steps back may be too big to overcome.
Ruiz knows that his performance against Joshua in their rematch disappointed many, from his unfocused demeanor in preparing for the fight to his non-competitiveness inside the ring. Ruiz says he is more disciplined and more confident than ever before working with Reynoso.
“I feel like I let a lot of people down. I’m more motivated than ever. Having Eddy here on my side, working together, changing all this stuff I didn’t do in my last fight or ever, it just feels good,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz vs. Arreola headlines the May 1 PBC on FOX PPV from Dignity Health Sports Park.
Video Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STTxcif5DRc
Full press conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MkGKVXWwTM