Home Boxing News Andy Ruiz Jr prepared to go the distance, Luis Ortiz predicts a...

Andy Ruiz Jr prepared to go the distance, Luis Ortiz predicts a knockout

Andy Ruiz Jr and Luis Ortiz. Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Former unified heavyweight champion Andy ‘The Destroyer’ Ruiz Jr 34-2 (22) and longtime contender Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz 33-2 (28) faced off for the first time on Wednesday at a Los Angeles press conference to preview their WBC heavyweight world title eliminator which headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on September 4 in a Labor Day weekend clash at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California.

The 32-year-old Ruiz Jr, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF championships from Anthony Joshua with a shock seventh-round knockout at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden three years ago, was widely panned for coming in almost 16 pounds heavier for their immediate rematch in December 2019. He lost that fight on points in what amounted to a virtual shutout.

In his lone fight after that loss – a wide 12-round unanimous points decision over veteran Chris Arreola in May last year – Ruiz Jr weighed in at 256 pounds, more than 27 pounds heavier than for his rematch against Joshua.

But Ruiz Jr says the focus should not be on his weight, but rather what he brings to the ring.

“This isn’t a weightlifting contest, so I’ve been getting back to what originally made me a champion,” Ruiz Jr said. “I’m not here to lose weight or look the part, I just want to be the part…

“I wanted to work with (new trainer) Alfredo Osuna a long time ago, it just wasn’t the right time then. He’s used to training for lefty fighters. I feel like this is exactly what I needed for this fight. My team is going to bring the best out of me.

“This might not go the distance, but I’m prepared to go all 12 rounds. We’re going to get this victory no matter what on September 4.”

Cuban southpaw Ortiz, who is listed as being 43 but is widely rumoured to be older, has been only slightly more active than Ruiz Jr since the start of 2020. He knocked Alexander Flores in one round in November 2020 and stopped former IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin in six this past January in a fight that he was losing on the cards.

“I don’t believe there’s any advantage to the fact that I’ve been more active than Andy,” Ortiz said. “I believe in hard work and the mental makeup of a fighter. That’s what I’ve been focusing on day after day.

“My main objective right now is to win on September 4. Then after that, I’ll see who crawls out and steps up. So far there haven’t been too many at the elite level. This fight is going to end in a knockout. I’m sure Andy thinks the same thing. This one isn’t going to go 12 rounds.”

The winner of the fight will be in the mix challenge for the WBC world title, currently held by Tyson Fury who has both announced his retirement and refused to relinquish his belt.