Andy Ruiz Jr. overcomes sluggish start to defeat Chris Arreola in heavyweight bout – Daily News

CARSON — Former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. arrived Saturday night with a new physique, but his fighting style was the same during his thrilling ring return against Chris Arreola at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Ruiz overcame a sluggish start to defeat Arreola by unanimous decision in the first boxing event in California with fans in attendance since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Ruiz won with score cards of 117-110, 118-109, 118-109.

Arreola hurt Ruiz early after landing a big right to Ruiz’s ear, recording a second-round knockdown. Ruiz was rocked twice during a wild third round, but stood his ground and found a rhythm toward the end of the round.

“He’s a hard puncher,” Ruiz said about Arreola. “We did what we had to do. … I dropped my hands. I was overconfident. But I kept going.”

Ruiz’s weight loss benefited him in the middle rounds and applied pressure often against a fatigued Arreola. Ruiz entered this fight at 256 pounds after fighting at 283 pounds in his previous bout — the rematch against Anthony Joshua in December 2019.

Ruiz, 31, sought the help of trainer Eddy Reynoso to lose weight and become a disciplined fighter with counter punching. But Ruiz had minimal defense Saturday night and relied heavily on his fast and powerful hands, the same tactic that helped him upset Joshua to become a unified heavyweight champion nearly two years ago.

Reynoso, who also trains Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, didn’t see the counter punches from Ruiz, but he got the hip movements in the ring he aimed for when helping Ruiz lose 55 pounds at his gym in San Diego.

A handful of brawls broke out in the stands during the thrilling early rounds of the Ruiz-Arreola bout. The announced attendance was 3,940 with limited capacity at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Ruiz did enough to earn the victory, but it wasn’t the impressive performance he needed to return to the heavyweight title picture versus the likes of Joshua and Tyson Fury.

Arreola, 40, has plenty of experience against top heavyweights, but he’s years removed since being a serious contender in the division. He lost to Deontay Wilder in 2016 and Vitali Klitschko in 2009. Arreola, an East Los Angeles native, ended a near two-year layoff to fight Ruiz.

But Arreola was able to turn the clock for a few rounds and disagreed with the judges who only gave him two rounds. Ruiz said he welcomes a rematch with Arreola.

It wasn’t a new improved Ruiz, but his exciting fighting style pleased the fans in attendance who were loud throughout the fight.


Former junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara had no issues in his first bout at 160 pounds.

Lara quickly knocked out Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna with a left hook less than two minutes into the fight. LaManna (30-5-1, 12 KOs) laid on the canvas motionless for a few minutes before slowly getting up and receiving cheers from the Carson crowd.

Lara (28-3-3, 16 KOs) returned to a tune-up bout, but he’s now aiming for title fights against former stablebates, the Charlo twins. Jermall Charlo owns the WBC middleweight belt and Jermell Charlo is a unified three-belt champion at junior middleweight.

“I felt strong and sharp tonight at middleweight, but I still want all of the big fights at 154-pounds too,” Lara, 38, said. “I want the winner of the Jermell Charlo-Brian Carlos Castano unification fight. Jermall Charlo is like family. We worked in the same gym for years, but this is a sport and I’d welcome the challenge.”

This was Lara’s first fight since defeating Greg Vendetti by unanimous decision in August.

In arguably the most entertaining fight of the undercard, Sebastian Fundora recorded a fourth-round knockout against Mexican fighter Jorge Cota.

Fundora exchanged blows often in the center of the ring instead of using his 6-foot-5 size as an advantage versus Cota.

The fans in attendance appreciated the aggression from both fighters, but they booed when referee Ray Corona stopped the junior middleweight bout at the 2:35 mark of the fourth round after Fundora landed a series of devastating power punches. Cota disputed the stoppage before leaving the ring to a loud ovation.

“I’m extremely grateful to fight in front of the fans tonight,” said Fundora (17-0-1, 12 KOs), who trains in Coachella. “It was fun to hear the cheers, the boos and everything. I’m honored to be in this position.”

For the co-main event, Abel Ramos recorded a corner stoppage against Omar Figueroa Jr. following the sixth round of the welterweight bout.

Figueroa moved his shoulders often, but left his head and chin exposed, becoming an easy target for Ramos, who improved to 27-4-2 with 21 knockouts.

To start the FOX pay-per-view broadcast, Jesus Ramos outpointed Norwalk native Javier Molina by unanimous decision (97-92, 99-90, 99-90).

Ramos, 20, utilized his left jab to stifle Molina during the 10-round welterweight bout that saw plenty of action.

Ramos improved his perfect record to 16-0 with 14 knockouts. Jesus Ramos is the nephew of Abel Ramos.



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