Andy Ruiz Jr. is now just one step away from landing a massive Pay Per View fight with knockout artist Deontay Wilder.
The former unified heavyweight world champion, known as “The Destroyer,” scored three knockdowns for a unanimous decision victory.
“King Kong” Ortiz proved why he’s considered a top contender in their WBC heavyweight title eliminator.
The bout headlined a FOX Sports PBC PPV Sunday night from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Andy Ruiz Jr
“Everyone doubted me, but I worked hard for this fight,” said Ruiz. “Ortiz is a warrior who hits hard.
“I did a beautiful job boxing him around. I showed more class than I usually do just coming forward.”
The first fighter of Mexican descent to become heavyweight world champion, Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) got his hometown crowd on its feet early.
He delivered a clean right hand to score his first knockdown in round two.
Ortiz (33-3, 28 KOs) would hit the canvas a second time in the round. But he got to his feet again and delivered several solid lefts to keep himself in the fight and make it through the round.
“I told you I was going to be a warrior. That’s what I did,” said Ortiz. “This is Cuba vs. Mexico. This is what I live for.
“To everyone who said that I’m old, I gave you a war today. There are always surprises in boxing. That’s what you got if you didn’t think I’d give it my all.”
Ortiz got himself back in the fight over the subsequent rounds with impressive boxing as he relied on his jab and movement. He kept Ruiz from inflicting further damage.
In round seven, however, Ruiz struck again. He backed his opponent up with a straight right before moving close and dropping Ortiz with an overhand right.
“It was a difficult fight,” said Ruiz. “I was waiting for him to load up and countering him when he did. It was a blessing we were able to be successful.”
Despite Ruiz pushing forward, Ortiz again used his excellent boxing acumen to remain in the fight.
Ortiz even owned a slight 78-76 edge in punches landed, according to CompuBox. But it was Ruiz’s 67 power punches to Ortiz’s 56 that made the difference.
After hurting Ortiz again in round eleven and winning the round on all three cards, Ruiz could hold off a late charge from Ortiz.
He edged the fight on the judges’ cards by scores of 114-111 twice and 113-112.
Deontay Wilder fight
After the fight, Ruiz stated his willingness to meet former WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder in a possible blockbuster showdown.
That one step he needs to land the clash is Wilder being successful in his ring return on October 15 against Robert Helenius.
The fight is another FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View and another WBC title eliminator. The winner will get a shot at the green and gold strap.
Wilder, seated ringside, matched Ruiz’s enthusiasm for the potential matchup.
“If Deontay Wins in October, we are with the same management. We can make this fight happen,” said Ruiz Jr. “Let’s do it. Let’s get it on. I’m hungry and want to be champion again and bring that belt back to Mexico.”
“Deontay Wilder is back, and I’m always looking for great exciting fights for the fans,” said Wilder. “If Andy Ruiz Jr. is what’s next, then I’m ready to get it on.”