Professional boxer Andrés Ponce Ruiz Jr. was born in Imperial, California, on September 11th, 1989. His parents were both of Mexican origins; Andy is both fluent in Spanish and English. Ruiz has stated that he saw his first fight at the age of seven in San Diego, but his first interest had been, in fact, baseball. It was thanks to his father that he got into the boxing world; Ruiz worked with his dad in construction before making a full-time commitment to boxing.
Andy’s career began in Mexico, where his grandfather owned a boxing ring. During his amateur years, Ruiz trained under Cuban trainer Fernando Ferrer. He went on to have 105 wins, which included two Mexican National Junior Olympics gold medals and a title at the Ringside World Championships. In 2008, Ruiz represented Mexico (as he was eligible by birth) in two Beijing Olympic Games qualification tournaments, but eventually lost. His nickname during these years was the “destroyer” because, according to him, he was always destroying things.
Ruiz’ professional debut match was in March 2009 in the Plaza de Toros, in Tijuana, against Miguel Ramirez—a fight he won by K.O. After taking some time off, he returned to the ring in 2010, and won a four-round against Juan Luis Lopez Alcaraz. In March 2010, Ruiz participated in his first match on American soil, spectacularly knocking out Luke Vaughn in round one. This was the first of four subsequent fights that Ruiz would win in the U.S. by either knock out or unanimous decision, against boxers Miles Kelly, Raymond Lopez, and Francisco Diaz.
Andy Ruiz won his first eight-round match against Homero Fonseca in 2012. The following year, Ruiz traveled to Macau, China, and fought against the undefeated American boxer Joe Hanks in a ten-round fight. His victory in this match allowed him to claim the vacant WBO (World Boxing Organization) Inter-Continental heavyweight title. Ruiz defended this title again in 2013 against Tor Hammer, who forfeited the match after the third round, conceding the victory to Ruiz. This win also allowed Ruiz to claim the vacant WBC-NABF heavyweight title.
In 2014, Ruiz fought former WBO heavyweight champion, Siarhei Liakhovich (who was 38 years old at that time). The fight ended in a victory for Ruiz and a three-year long retirement for Liakhovich. Throughout the next couple of years, Ruiz would become an unbeatable force, winning matches all across the U.S. His first defeat by majority decision happened in 2016 when Ruiz went against new Zealander Joseph Parker in his home country—his first fight outside the U.S. in over three years—for the vacant WBO heavyweight title.
After the loss, Ruiz started training under Angel “Memo” Heredia, a renowned strength and conditioning trainer, in 2017. He made his return to the ring in March 2018, with a victory by K.O. against Devin Vargas. Since then, Ruiz has had a series of wins, most notably his defeat of British boxer Anthony Joshua by technical knockout, which earned him the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO titles.