Andy Ruiz is returning to the ring…
The 32-year-old Mexican American boxer, a former heavyweight champion, will fight Luis Ortiz on September 4 in Los Angeles, according to ESPN.
The fight will be Ruiz’s first in 15 months, and he’ll enter it with a new trainer for the second time in two fights. Ruiz is now training with Alfredo Osuna after he parted ways with Eddy Reynoso, sources said. Reynoso is best known as the trainer of boxing’s top star, Canelo Alvarez.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) became the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent when he defeated Anthony Joshua via seventh-round TKO in June 2019, in a bout that was named ESPN‘s 2019 Upset of the Year. Six months later, Joshua regained his three heavyweight titles with a unanimous-decision victory over Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.
Ruiz admitted he was not in shape when he fought Joshua in the rematch. He weighed a career-high 283.5 pounds and was lethargic during the fight, in stark contrast to the first bout, when he weighed 268 and consistently beat Joshua to the punch with his lightning-quick hands.
The Southern Californian has fought just once since the rematch, a May 2021 decision win over Chris Arreola. Ruiz weighed 256 pounds for that bout but was surprisingly dropped in Round 2 and struggled at times during the first half before he took control.
Ruiz, ESPN’s No. 5 heavyweight, underwent surgery on his right knee in August and will now prepare for just his second fight since he lost his three titles to Joshua.
Ortiz, ESPN’s No. 8 heavyweight, has twice challenged for the WBC heavyweight title, and both times he was knocked out by Deontay Wilder. The 43-year-old was ahead on the scorecards in the November 2019 rematch when Wider scored the spectacular KO.
Since the setback, Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) has fought twice. The 43-year-old scored a first-round KO of journeyman Alexander Flores before he met Charles Martin on New Year’s Day 2022.
Ortiz was floored in the opening round and again in the fourth but rallied for a brutal stoppage in Round 6.
The winner of Ruiz-Ortiz will be in prime position for another heavyweight title shot next year. Tyson Fury holds one title, while Oleksandr Usyk and Joshua will meet in a rematch for three belts on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.