Andy Ruiz Jr beat Luis Ortiz by unanimous decision on Sunday night on his return to the ring after a year out, scoring three impressive knockdowns en route to victory.
The former heavyweight world champion showed flashes of the dangerous hand speed that he used to knock Anthony Joshua out back in 2019, and called for a fight with Deontay Wilder after the win was confirmed.
The fight – staged at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles – began with Ortiz attempting to claim control via his southpaw jab in the opening minute.
Ruiz Jr was not intimidated though, and utilised his famed heavyweight hand speed to catch the Cuban with a couple of clean shots.
However, it was Ortiz who ended round one the strongest as he hammered the Mexican-American with a hard left which caught his attention.
In the second, the action opened up as Ruiz Jr floored Ortiz with a stunning short right hand to the side of the head.
The Cuban made it back to his feet, but not for long as he collapsed to the canvas again for a second knockdown quickly afterwards with his legs still wobbly.
Remarkably though, Ortiz fired back after this and appeared to hurt Ruiz Jr with a couple of hard lefts before the bell rang.
In rounds three and four, the Mexican-American boxed more cautiously as a result.
Ruiz Jr’s fast counters continued to trouble Ortiz, though the exchanges were significantly quieter than in the dramatic second.
The fifth and sixth were positive rounds for the Cuban as he avoided many of the shots fired his way and countered effectively.
As they hit the halfway point, Ruiz Jr appeared ahead with the two knockdowns in his favour, but Ortiz was creeping back into the contest.
Round seven saw Ruiz Jr less passive as he attempted to end this pattern of positivity for Ortiz and knocked him down for a third time with another hard, fast right hand.
The speed of the hook to the side of the head was reminiscent of the punches he used to knock Joshua out back in 2019.
In the eighth, the Cuban sought once again to show that he still had plenty left in the fight and arguably won the round as a result of his more forceful approach.
Ruiz Jr responded by coming out firing in round nine, but Ortiz’s counter punches assured that he remained wary.
The action slowed until Ortiz went for broke in the final round.
Unfortunately for the Cuban though, Ruiz Jr had no intention of throwing away his lead and did enough to make it to the final bell.
He was awarded the win by unanimous decision with scores of 113-112, 114-111, 114-111.
In the aftermath, he called for a fight with Deontay Wilder, who was sat ringside.
Ruiz Jr said: “God willing he wins in October. We’re in the same organisation. I wanna thank Al Haymon. We can make this fight happen and let’s do it, let’s get it on”
Wilder replied: “Deontay Wilder’s back, we’re always looking for great, exciting fights. If that’s what lies up next, I’ve gotta handle business, but after that we can get it on”