Andy Ruiz made the first step in his comeback journey a successful one. Last night he faced heavyweight journeyman Chris Arreola at a sold out crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Ruiz defeated Arreola by unanimous decision.  Judges Lou Moret and Pat Russell each scored it 118-109, while judge Zachary Young had it 117-110 all for Ruiz.

Yet, the evening was not all smooth sailing for Ruiz. After three rounds one could make the argument Chris Arreola was in command of the fight. Arreola dropped Ruiz in the second round with an overhand right on the side of Ruiz’s head, set up by the jab. Ruiz got back up, but was clearly on rubbery legs. In the beginning of the third round, Arreola once again had Ruiz in trouble again with a counter left hook.

“He got me with a good clean right hand in the second round,” Ruiz said. “I was too overconfident and dropped my hand a bit. Hats off to him. We just kept pushing and pushing. I switched up and started focusing on counterpunching and working the body.”

Ruiz would regain his composure and more importantly his legs. After the knockdown and near knockdown he clearly reverted to boxing, implementing a strategy that saw double and triple jabs, concerted effort to the body and punching in combinations.  Ruiz however, may have been aided by an apparent injury to Arreola. Arreola clearly incurred a shoulder injury, as he pointed to it and attempted to shake off the injury but was wincing in pain.  After the injury Arreola clearly could not let his hands fly robbing him of one of his weapons and served to Ruiz advantage.

To his credit, Arreola made no excuses telling the press “I got hit a couple times in the shoulder and it kind of threw it off. No big deal, that’s a part of boxing,” Arreola said. “I absolutely respect the judges, but today — I’ll always say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they like butterface today, everything is pretty but their face. Did he win? Fine. But don’t tell me you’re gonna only give me two or three rounds.”

The big question, what’s next for Andy Ruiz? This win demonstrated he still has skills and fire to win. Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are busy circling one another. A more likely opponent could be Luis Ortiz, or even Deontay Wilder, the latter another PBC fighter. Until then, check out the highlights of Andy Ruiz vs. Chris Arreola here.

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