- Andy Ruiz almost retired from boxing. Now he's the heavyweight champion and atop the sports world. The first Mexican-born heavyweight champion opened up to SI about his overnight celebrity.
In one of the most stunning upsets in boxing history, Andy Ruiz scored a seventh-round TKO of Anthony Joshua earlier this month, putting his name in the record books and catapulting his profile in the boxing world.
Since then, Ruiz has been everywhere. The victory made the boxer into an instant fan favorite and made him a hero in his home country of Mexico after becoming the first Mexican-born fighter to be crowned the heavyweight champion.
SI.com's Chris Mannix recently caught up with Ruiz to discuss the aftermath of the Joshua fight and what it's been like to become an overnight celebrity.
Chris Mannix: So what have the last few days been like?
AR: Honestly, I’m still pinching myself. It doesn’t feel real. I still feel like I’m going to wake up and I’m not heavyweight champion. I’m still shocked. Everything has been so crazy, from the media to all the people on social media showing me love. I had The Rock shout me out. I love The Rock. It’s a blessing. It’s a dream come true.
CM: You told everyone you were going to win this fight—why did you believe it?
Andy Quiz: I’m confident in all my fights. You have to be. You have to put any negative thoughts aside. But my team believed it. All the energy, all the good vibes, I got them from my team. I know how many people thought I was a joke. I saw the comments about how I was going to get knocked out in the first round or the third round.I went through them. They got me mad. I used all of it as motivation. It lit a fire in me.
CM: Third round, you got knocked down. Everyone thought it was over. How did you fight through that?
AR: God, man. When I got knocked down, I was asking him for strength. When you get knocked down like that, you don’t really feel anything. It was my first time down. He knocked my ass down and I was lay there thinking ‘what the hell happened?’ But it gave me more courage. I took a few seconds, got some air in and got up. And I wanted to win more.
CM: But you knew he was coming to finish you …
AR: Yup. He came at me throwing everything, trying to get me out of there. My reaction was to throw back. I knew he was going to leave himself open. I bobbed and weaved, I made him miss and when he did I caught him. I could tell right away. I knew I had him hurt.
CM: Your trainer, Manny Robles, said a couple of years ago you were thinking about retiring. How close were you?
AR: I was pretty close. [Former promoter] Top Rank was making my life really difficult. They didn’t want to let me out of the contract. They wanted me to buy my contract out. I was going to go work with my Dad. He buys lots and flips houses. I didn’t want to quit boxing, but Top Rank was giving me hell. I bet [Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum is pulling his hairs out right now. I bet he is thinking, ‘I should have treated Andy better and he would have stayed with me.’ Now I’m with Al Haymon. And I’m heavyweight champion.
CM: You shouted out your Mom after the fight. You told her things were going to change. What’s changing?
AR: We don’t have to struggle anymore. With my Mom and Dad, we always had, everything that we needed, but not everything that we wanted. I am going to get my parents what they want, especially my Mom. There’s a house we have been looking at in San Diego. I’m going to buy that.
CM: Anthony Joshua has already exercised the rematch clause. Are you ready to do it again?
AR: Of course. And I’m going to win again, it’s just going to be another exciting fight,. Right now, we’re trying to see if it is going to be in the U.S. or Mexico. They want to take to the UK, but I have the leverage right now. I’m the heavyweight champion. it’s really cool. My dreams have come true.