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Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Charles Martin in IBF title eliminator

Andy Ruiz Jr.

By Charles Brun: Former heavyweight world champions Andy Ruiz Jr. and Charles Martin are expected to be fighting in an IBF title eliminator to become mandatory for champion Anthony Joshua, according to the Sun. No, you’re not hallucinating.

PBC may need to work with the IBF to have #5 Ruiz pushed ahead of #3 IBF Agit Kabayel and #4 Oleksandr Usyk to face #2 IBF Martin in the title eliminator.

Usyk isn’t as big of a problem though, since he’s already the WBO mandatory and set for a title shot against Joshua. Usyk is fighting Dereck Chisora on May 23, and then Joshua – or whoever holds the WBO title – after that.

What could slow the situation down for the Ruiz vs. Martin winner getting a title shot is the British Board of Boxing Control having extended their suspension of UK boxing action until the end of April.

That suspension of events by the BBBofC could be further extended beyond April depending on how well the coronavirus pandemic is being controlled at that time.

Yeah, while the other heavyweights are spinning their wheels and not making any headway, former IBF champ Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) and former IBF/WBA/WBO champion Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) could soon be battling it out in an IBF eliminator become the secondary mandatory to Joshua.

Andy Ruiz Jr.

Ruiz Jr. and Martin looking for another title shot

Martin and Ruiz Jr. both have something in common in having lost to Joshua in the past. Just three months after winning the vacant International Boxing Federation title in beating Vyacheslav Glazkov by a strange 3rd round injury stoppage in January 2016, Martin was blown out in 2 rounds by Joshua in April 2016 in London, England.

Joshua knocked the 6’5″ Martin down twice in a one-sided contest. For his part, Ruiz beat an unprepared Joshua in their first fight by 7th round knockout last June, and then came out of shape for the rematch and lost a 12 round decision last December.

The worst thing that came out of Martin’s loss to Joshua was his unwise decision to sit outside of the ring for 12 months. In hindsight, you can look at that move and second guess it to the extreme because Martin should have started the rebuilding process right away.

Staying inactive for an entire year slowed his progress to get in line for another crack at a world title. Had Martin stayed active for the year after his loss to Joshua, there’s a good chance he would have already gotten another title shot.

That was a self-defeating move on Martin’s part to sit on his backside and do nothing for 12 months. Martin obviously got a good payday in his loss to Joshua, but he still should have gotten back in the ring to continue working to get another chance against AJ.

Martin, 33, has seemingly turned his career around recently in winning his last three fights, albeit against weak opposition. Since losing to punching machine Adam Kownacki by a close 10 round unanimous decision in September 2018, Martin has come roaring back with wins over Gregory Corbin, Daniel Martz, and Gerald Washington.

Andy Ruiz Jr.

Ruiz Jr. vs. Martin won’t happen soon

With the coronavirus still a MAJOR problem in the United States, we probably won’t see the Ruiz Jr. vs. Martin fight anytime soon. additionally, already has two mandatory defenses he needs to get out of the way in 2020 against Kubrat Pulev [IBF] and Oleksandr Usyk [WBO]. There’s a very real chance that one or both of those fights could get postponed and pushed into 2021.

The coronavirus could make it difficult for Martin and Ruiz to each other. What makes it worse is that Joshua won’t be fighting either. So if his mandatory defenses against Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk get postponed repeatedly, then we could be looking at the Ruiz-Martin fight taking place in 2021 after a year delay. That’s a worst-case scenario but a very real, unfortunately.

Ruiz Jr. stands to gain the most by the fight with Martin being delayed. In Ruiz’s rematch against Joshua, he weighed an absurd 283 lbs and looked like he hadn’t trained at all for the fight. Surprisingly, Ruiz Jr. admitted that he hadn’t trained the way he should have, and he apologized for letting people down.

Ruiz Jr. seemed to have lost his motivation to train, and he could be helped regain his hunger with more out of the ring. The belief is that Ruiz Jr. is still getting used to being wealthy, and needs to buy all the toys [houses, cars, and jewelry] that come with having all that money.

The more time Ruiz has to get accustomed to his new wealth, the better it is for him. If the fight with Martin gets put off until late 2020 or in 2021, it could be better for him. Ruiz needs to lose a lot of weight to get down to the 250s, and it’s not going to come off quickly, especially with him eating well.

Does Ruiz Jr. deserve to fight an eliminator?

It’s a bad look for ex-heavyweight world champions like Ruiz to be permitted to fight in an immediate title eliminator with them coming off of a loss. If this was the NFL, it would be like the loser of the Super Bowl being put immediately back into the Championship game to earn a shot at another Super Bowl instead of having to go through a season.

Fans won’t be happy that Ruiz, 30, is getting the chance to immediately fight in an IBF title eliminator after his loss to Joshua last December. You would think that Ruiz would need to win a minimum of 3 contests before giving the green light to compete in a title eliminator. unfortunately, boxing mirrors society at large.

Once a person has worked in a high position in a company, they can use that experience to get other jobs in a similar high position. It doesn’t matter if they failed miserably at their job. They still get chances based on that experience. Ideally, Ruiz should beat 3 or 4 highly ranked contenders before fighting in a title eliminator, but he won’t have to.  All we can hope for us when Ruiz does eventually fight for a world title again, he’ll be in better physical shape.

 


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