Heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz will return to action this summer, but not against the fighter many had assumed he would step in the ring against.
The former unified heavyweight titleholder will face unbeaten Tyrone Spong July 16 at the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City, Triller announced Wednesday afternoon. The 10-round bout will stream live on Fite.tv and TrillerFightClub.com.
The announcement comes as a surprise as Ruiz (34-2, 22 knockouts), who resides in Imperial, California, was rumored to face contender Luis Ortiz this summer in a clash of hard-hitting heavyweights who are ranked in the top-10 by The Ring. Ruiz and Ortiz are ranked No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.
Ruiz captured the IBF, WBO and WBA world title belts in June 2019 by overcoming a knockdown to drop and stop Anthony Joshua in New York back in June of 2019. With the victory, Ruiz became the first heavyweight of Mexican descent to win a world title belt. Over six months later, an out-of-shape Ruiz was outboxed and outhustled in the rematch, losing by unanimous decision to Joshua in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
The 32-year-old decided to part ways with trainer Manny Robles immediately after the fight and has since been working in nearby San Diego with Eddy Reynoso, who currently trains Ring Magazine super middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez, WBC junior lightweight titleholder Oscar Valdez, and WBC flyweight titleholder Julio Cesar Martinez.
In his last fight on May 1 of last year, Ruiz defeated Chris Arreola by unanimous decision in an action fight. At 256 pounds, he weighed 27.5 pounds lighter than in the rematch against Joshua.
Spong (14-0, 13 KOs), a world champion in kickboxing who is originally from Paramaribo, Suriname and now resides in Miami, Florida, has not fought in a boxing ring since August 2019, when he knocked out Jeyson Minda in the second round. The win over Minda took place over eight months after Spong defeated Ecuador’s Ytalo Perea by split decision.
In a pro career that began in March 2015, Spong has notched eight knockout victories in the opening round.
An announcement will be made later on fights that will be added to the Triller Fight Club card.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing