Anthony Joshua’s stunning knockout loss to Andy Ruiz remains one of the most stunning upsets in modern boxing.
The unified British WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world champion was a heavy favorite heading into the June 2019 fight against his late replacement Mexican-American challenger.
AJ was originally scheduled to face American Jarrell Miller in his United States debut, which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
However, Miller failed three drug tests and so Ruiz was drafted weeks before fight night.
The challenger was notorious for not being a pushover, but was widely expected to be another foe defeated by the undefeated AJ.
Ruiz had already boxed for a world title once and was narrowly beaten by Joseph Parker, whom Joshua dethroned in 2018.
When the fight started, everything seemed to be going according to plan.
At the start of round three, Joshua floored Ruiz with a lightning-fast combination.
Then, incredibly, as the Brit headed for the finish, the Mexican-American landed a crushing left counter hook that badly hurt him and turned the fight around.
Joshua never fully recovered from that shot as he was knocked down twice in round three and then twice in round seven.
The fourth knockdown prompted referee Michael Griffin to stop the fight.
Ringside footage from the drama produced by AJ’s promoters Matchroom shows up close the looks of despair and devastation on the champion’s face as he lost his titles.
It also captures Ruiz’s elation as he celebrated and Oleksandr Usyk’s amazement at ringside.
Joshua vs Ruiz took place a few months before Usyk’s heavyweight debut and he was there to watch his potential future foe.
Sure, AJ masterfully dispatched Ruiz to regain his world titles six months later, but Usyk was waiting as his mandatory challenger and the rest is history.