Andy Ruiz will return to the ring a different man against Chris Arreola this weekend after losing a whopping 30kg.

After a 17-month hiatus, a trimmed down Andy Ruiz will return to the ring a different man against Chris Arreola this weekend, in his first fight since his humiliating loss to Anthony Joshua.

Ruiz has undergone a massive physical transformation since, losing almost 30kg to turn his career around in a bid to get another world title shot. He takes on a 40-year-old Arreola who has lost two of his last four fights.

Ruiz was on top of the world, albeit for a short period, following his shock win over the heavyweight champion in 2019, taking the Brit’s belts in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

However, Ruiz enjoyed the spoils of victory a little too much and packed on nearly 7kg after winning the title and was ill-prepared for a rematch against Joshua in December 2019. The bout in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia was one-sided with Ruiz clearly outclassed by the chiselled champion, leading to a barrage of criticism.

Boxing pundits took aim at the former champ, accusing him of not taking the return bout seriously. And now after months of reflection, Ruiz admits he took things too far after claiming the belts.

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“I don’t want to say that [months] of partying and celebrating affected me,” Ruiz said. “But it kind of did.”

Ruiz said he stacked on more weight during the pandemic to tip the scales at over 130kg and was still hurting from his performance in the Middle East, until one morning it all came to a head.

“After Saudi Arabia, I was depressed. I was kind of mad at myself because I didn’t do the right things that I was supposed to do,” Ruiz said. “One day I woke up crying, telling myself, ‘Man, this is not me. I shouldn’t be doing this. I need to make a change in my life.'”

To get himself back into contention against some of the biggest names in the sport, Ruiz approached the biggest name in the game to get his career back on track.

Ruiz messaged super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and asked the star boxer if he could join his training camp in San Diego. The highest-paid star in boxing welcomed Ruiz into the fold, with trainer Eddy Reynoso giving the heavyweight the tough love and discipline he needed.

“I chose Eddy because this is where the champions train,” he said. “Everyone here is dedicated and disciplined. I felt like I needed to make this change and it’s really something that I should have done a long time ago.

“The main thing I’ve learned here is discipline. That’s something you can’t buy. You have to do it on your own. You have to want it.”

While most believed Ruiz was a lost cause after his haphazard world title defence against Joshua, the Mexican slugger is in the best shape of his life and still has pulling power with Mexican fight fans.

His bout with Arreola, a fighter who has competed for the heavyweight championship three times, is a pay-per-view event and is a prime opportunity to show the boxing world he’s a different fighter now.

“I’ve learned different abilities that I can do during this training camp,” Ruiz said.

“I can throw different punches and combinations fighting at this weight. I was always a fighter who could come forward, but now I can switch it up. I can’t wait to show it on May 1.”

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