Andy Ruiz Jr. Has A New Look & Wants A Shot at Tyson Fury

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Looking for better matchup opposition opportunities in the heavyweight division, former World Heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. recently departed TGB Promotions and signing with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Ruiz, 35-2 with 22 knockouts, Imperial, California, appears to have lost in the vicinity of 40 to 50 pounds from his 268 pound frame he last displayed in decisioning Luis Ortiz in September 2022 at Arena in Los Angeles.

Andy has been in the news recently due to his divorce from wife Julie Lemus, mother of his five children, and his new relationship with social media star Mayeli Alonzo. Lemus filed a restraining order in San Diego, California, on April 6, 2023, accusing Ruiz of physical, psychological and emotional abuse, as well accusing him of emotional and psychological abuse of their children. Lemus also accuses Ruiz of abusing alcohol and drugs, which caused her to “fear for my life and safety, and the lives and safety of my (our) children.” Lemus alleges Ruiz pointed an AK-47 at her face after she expressed she was uncomfortable with Ruiz purchasing several guns, and then attempting to show them to her. Ruiz and Lemus were together from 2015 to 2022.

Ruiz Jr. responded in a public statement “An article regarding my personal life was handled in a wrong and disrespectful way (and) has been circulating through various Spanish-speaking media. In this regard, and in order to have my public and the media duly informed, I clarify at the time I decided to open my heart again, (as) my previous romantic relationship (with my now ex-wife) had already ended.”

Andy AKA ‘The Destroyer’ has succeeding in destroying his previous image of hamburger sized obesity to go with his professional boxing frame. Andy’s lighter frame now puts him in superior position for a heavyweight eliminator for Tyson Fury, if the Fury versus Usyk heavyweight titular unification match does not take place. Usyk has signed with Skills Challenge Entertainment, and faces Daniel Dubois in Poland on August 26, 2023. Usyk must win that bout if Fury versus Usyk takes place in Fall 2023 in Dubai. Fury is still waiting for a solid financial offer on the table form Usyk’s camp.

Fury has a tentative date for his next bout of July 22, 2023. Fury has been looking at 22-0 Australian southpaw Demsey McKean (now fighting out of Brentwood Essex UK) and WBO World Cruiserweight champion Jai Opateia of Sydney, Australia as his next optional opponents, but they are not the most deserved names for Fury. Andy Ruiz Jr. (after defeating Luis Ortiz) and Zhilei Zhang (coming off his upset of Joe Joyce) are the strongest names on the table. Promoter Frank Warren stated yesterday Fury wants 150 million to fight Usyk. Presumably, Ruiz will fight for much less if Fury accepts Andy as his next challenger.

Dillian Whyte, Deontay Wilder, Daniel Dubois, a rematch with Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora, Zhilei Zhang, Anthony Joshua, Joe Joyce, Frank Sanchez, Martin Bakole, Felip Hrgovic and Efe Ajagba, Arslanbek Makhmudov, Jarrell Miller, Zhan Kossobuyskiy, Fabio Wardley, Murat Gassiev and Ali Eren Demirizen are among other possible names for Andy if Tyson Fury does not immediately materialize.

The key for Andy’s reemergence and salvation is to remain active after his signed with Al Haymon. When July 2023 reaches, Andy will have been inactive for 10 months, and inactivity is not a way to regain the heavyweight title. The gest possible match for Andy, if not Tyosn Fury, is clearly a World Boxing Council eliminator with Deontay Wilder, which is a sparks will definitely fly which is lasts explosive fireworks of a matchup which would generate considerable public interest. Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora are solid name alternatives, but Wilder remains the best name for Andy in the chute, if Fury goes for Zhang as an optional WBC defense.

Summer 2023 should answer questions for the immediate future pathways of Ruiz, Wilder, Fury, Usyk, Dubois, Zhang, and Hrgovic at the top of the heavyweight champions and mandatory challengers heap. Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, returning off a lengthy suspension, is active and could be a wild card opponent for any of the above, if he accepts a step up bout. Jai Opetaia, the WBO World Cruiserweight champion, is an untested in the heavyweight division, which is probably why Fury might go for McKean, who is currently fighting out of the UK, as the easier match to make for the moment while he is waiting for Usyk versus Dubois to play out.

The key understanding is since Fury and Usyk cannot come to unification bout terms, and the idea of Fury versus Wilder IV does not have momentum, either Andy or Zhilei Zhang are the most deserving next in line for Fury if he continues to defend his WBC title. Both Andy (who defeated Luis Ortiz) and Zhilei (who defeated Joe Joyce), are equally deserving of a world title opportunity. Both of them are serious challengers for Tyson Fury. Anthony Joshua could fight Fury, Joshua, after decisioning Jermaine Franklin, stated “Here’s no better time to get (Tyson) Fury in the ring than now because he needs me to redeem himself from this circus, this letdown. “He needs me. So, there’s no better time than for him to call my name out, and I’m someone that will take on any challenge (I’ll agree to fight Tyson Fury).” This reporter notes whatever scenario plays out, the answer will come this week.

This reporter likes Andy better for Tyson Fury, but it depends where Andy is in his training at this particular moment. Fighting Tyson Fury is not a social call. If Andy does accept a bout with Deontay Wilder, the odds say only one of them leaves the ring standing, as great a matchup as Fury versus Wilder only more intriguing. Of course, we would love to see Anthony Joshua against Andy Ruiz Jr., Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, or anybody serious in his second comeback bout. Joshua has been quiet, though. To this reporter, Andy Ruiz Jr. is the biggest name of the moment if Fury versus Usyk does not materialize. The variable is Zhang, McKean and Opetaia are the easier optional defense challengers for Fury, on par with Dereck Chisora, and Fury is likely to take the easier road to preserve the Usyk unification bout in the Fall, if Usyk can get by Dubois.