Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the world with a win over Anthony Joshua in mid-2019, taking his unified world titles and halting one of the biggest success stories in the modern heavyweight division.
He would lose in the rematch against Joshua just six months later before sitting out for a year and a half.
Ruiz has since beaten Chris Arreola and Luis Ortiz over the distance, but has not laced up since fighting the latter in September of 2022, even despite being ordered to face Deontay Wilder.
Most recently, he has updated fans of a surgery in October, putting a full stop on a year of inactivity. Ruiz has confirmed he won’t be out in 2023, but said 2024 is ‘his year.’
With Wilder now chasing both the Joshua fight as well as one with new heavyweight in-demand Francis Ngannou, it’s likely that his frustrating rivalry with Ruiz is over before it really started.
So who else for the first Mexican to become heavyweight champion of the world? He is currently ranked number four with the WBO, five with the WBC – recently two before a drop in September – but doesn’t feature in either the WBA or IBF top 15.
In September, the IBF had both Ruiz in its list at 14. He has been replaced by new additions Efe Ajagba at 13 and Fabio Wardley at 15, with Murat Gassiev dropped in between them. Daniel Dubois has also been bumped up to number eight having previously not made the cut.
Wilder – who has been out of the ring just one month less than Ruiz – has remained at number one with the WBC and four with the IBF.
Should he be unable to land anyone in the top four – widely regarded as Joshua, Wilder, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk – 34-year-old Ruiz could potentially look to a rematch with former world champion Joseph Parker, a test against in-form Martin Bakole or a rankings builder against Cuba’s Frank Sanchez, who is one ahead of him in the WBO and WBC tables.