By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Even after Andy Ruiz Jr.’s huge upset of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury doesn’t quite rate the newly crowned champion as an elite heavyweight.
Fury dubbed it a “two-horse race” for supremacy in the heavyweight division between him and Deontay Wilder following Fury’s second-round stoppage of Tom Schwarz on Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 33-year-old Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), the WBC champion, and the 30-year-old Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs), touted as the lineal champion, are supposed to fight again early in 2020 if Fury defeats an undetermined opponent September 21 or October 5 and Wilder can get past Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC) in their rematch sometime in October or November.
Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) is headed for an immediate rematch of his own with England’s Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs). Their second bout likely is headed for a stadium in the United Kingdom in October or November.
“No disrespect to Andy Ruiz,” Fury said during a post-fight press conference late Saturday night. “He’s done a great performance, but he’s locked into a contract with Joshua. So, I don’t consider him a part of this two-horse race. I think me and Wilder beat Andy Ruiz quite comfortably.”
The 29-year-old Ruiz, of Imperial, California, got up from a third-round knockdown, dropped Joshua four times, twice apiece in the third and seventh rounds, and beat Joshua by seventh-round technical knockout June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. His surprising stoppage of the heavily favored former champion is considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
If the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ can defeat Joshua again later this year, Fury would welcome a fight with Ruiz later in 2020.
“Yeah, a hundred percent,” Fury said. “If he beats Joshua in the rematch, then he’s next in line. Whoever wins me and Wilder will fight Andy Ruiz. I don’t see why these fights shouldn’t be made. There’s nothing I see with Andy Ruiz that makes me afraid. And I think it would be a good fight, a good matchup of styles.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.