LOS ANGELES — Moments are being announced the winner of a close contest against Luis Ortiz, a bruised Andy Ruiz Jr. was already looking forward to potential 2023 showdown with the division’s biggest puncher, Deontay Wilder.
Ruiz dropped Ortiz three times over the course of 12 rounds but still had to battle through surging pressure from the determined Cuban to secure a narrow scoring win of 113-112 and 114-111 twice. Coming into Saturday night, Ruiz was the #5 ranked contender by the WBC and Ortiz #8. Wilder, who hasn’t fought since his losing the thrilling 2021 Fight of the Year against Tyson Fury, is currently ranked #1 and launches his comeback on October 15 against Robert Helenius.
Should Wilder emerge victorious, Ruiz believes the next logical step is facing each other to determine the next challenger for the WBC crown.
“If Deontay wins in October, me and him are with the same management and we can make this fight happen,” said Ruiz Jr. during his post-fight interview. “Let’s do it. Let’s get it on. I’m hungry and I want to be champion again and bring that belt back to Mexico.”
Ortiz had a mere six months as the unified WBA/WBO/IBF champion after scoring a massive upset TKO of Anthony Joshua. Ortiz dropped the belt via unanimous decision in a listless rematch performance.
Wilder made 10 defenses of the WBC title from 2015-2019 before suffering a TKO loss in the Fury rematch.
For his remaining contests, the former champ has a focus on making fan-friendly fights. With three knockdowns scored against Ortiz and rising from the floor to beat Chris Arreola in his previous bout, Ruiz would seemingly fit the bill.
“Deontay Wilder is back and I’m always looking for great exciting fights for the fans,” said Wilder after congratulating Ruiz. “If Andy Ruiz Jr. is what’s next, then I’m ready to get it on.”
Despite the appeal of two elite American heavyweight facing off, Wilder is keenly aware of the immediate challenge that awaits on October 15. His opponent and former sparring partner, Robert Helenius, scored his biggest career wins in recent back to back stoppagea over Adam Kownacki.
“I know what Helenius is capable of doing and I know what kind of heart he has,”said Wilder. “He’s coming to bring his best and I always bring mine. This is a serious fight between two warriors in the heavyweight division. We’re coming to put it all on the line.”
Wilder vs. Helenius will air on Fox Sports pay-per-view live from the Barclays Center.