The ‘chubby kid’ who stunned boxing – fuelled by SNICKERS bars

The ‘chubby kid’ who stunned boxing – fueled by SNICKERS bars: How 268LB Andy Ruiz Jr went from crime-ridden California border town to a world champion who eats chocolate before each bout

  • Andy Ruiz Jr. beat Anthony Joshua on Saturday despite being 25-1 underdog
  • He previously confessed his love of Snickers bars and eats one before each fight 
  • The 29-year-old grew up in the California border town of Imperial near Mexico
  • Ruiz weighed in at 268 pounds – 20 more than Joshua, who is four inches taller  

Few people expected Andy Ruiz Jr. to stand a chance against unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. 

A 25-1 underdog, the self-described Snickers fanatic had just over a month to prepare for his title shot after Joshua’s first opponent, Brooklyn’s Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, tested positive for steroids. So when the rotund Ruiz tipped the scales at 268 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in, the expectation  

The Mexican-American heavyweight, once cruelly referred to in the press as a ‘fat slob’, proved his doubters wrong at Madison Square Garden to beat one of the most successful boxers in the modern era.

The 29-year-old, officially nicknamed the ‘Destroyer’ – but perhaps more memorably likened to the kid from ‘Up!’ by former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury – frequently made headlines for making fun of himself before the life-changing fight. 

‘Look at this chubby kid now,’ he said, just days before squaring up to Joshua, who weighs 20 pounds less than Ruiz despite being four inches taller. 

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Ruiz Jr appearing on ‘Inside the PBC’ with a Snickers bar. The champion said he eats a bar before each bout

Ruiz Jr knocks down Anthony Joshua in the third round during their fight on Saturday night

Appearing on ‘Inside the PBC’ armed with one of his trusty Snickers bars Ruiz also announced his intention to gorge on the confection prior to the bout. 

‘I have my Snickers right here with me,’ he said – brandishing a chocolate bar. 

‘To tell you the truth since I was six years old my dad would always give me this Snickers before every fight and it gives me energy.

‘It gives me everything that I need to do the win. For sure I will be eating this when I fight Anthony Joshua.’ 

Ruiz joked after beating Joshua that he was aiming to get a sponsorship deal with Snickers.  

Despite his often jovial nature, the 25-1 underdog knew there was more than pride at stake on Saturday.

Born in the California border town of Imperial to Mexican immigrants, Ruiz would travel across the border to train in Mexicali where his grandfather ran a gym. 

Aged just six years old, his father Andres Ruiz Sr banned him from playing baseball and insisted he take up boxing instead. 

As a youngster, Ruiz was frequently exposed to gang culture and violence and even got kicked out of school for fighting.

Ruiz pictured with  members of his family. He posted this photo to Instagram alongside the caption ‘Who would have guessed this fat kid would do something with his life?’

Andy Ruiz Jnr revealed he was motivated by jibes about his weight after he pulled off a sensational upset against Anthony Joshua in New York on Saturday night

He credits boxing for helping him escape a life of crime which has snared many of his childhood friends. 

‘Boxing saved my life,’ he said, ‘There were a lot of gangs and I was hanging around with the wrong people. Some are in jail now. I see others on street corners.’ 

Despite his humble beginnings, Ruiz says he is a ‘proud Mexican’ and he has previously railed against Donald Trump for his impact on Hispanic communities.

Mexicali, where Ruiz’s family hails from, is at the centre of the President’s border dispute and could be cut off from the US if the wall is completed.

‘It irritates me when Trump says what he does,’ Ruiz added.

‘Other Mexicans are trying to come here so they can make a living and Trump is trying to stop that.

‘If I win, it sends out a powerful message about the strength of Mexican people. Winning will not just change my family’s life; it will change the lives of many Mexican families.’

Ruiz took up boxing aged just six years old after his father banned him from playing baseball

Ruiz and his team celebrate his coronation as IBF, IBO and WBO world heavyweight champion

After previously being labelled a ‘fat slob’ by Promoter Bob Arum, Ruiz embarked on a dieting program which saw him lose nearly 40 pounds by ditching takeout food. 

‘I want to show that it doesn’t matter what people say about you or how you don’t fit,’ he said before the fight. 

The new champion, and the first of Mexican descent, had been dismissed again as recently as Friday’s weigh-in, where his fleshy appearance and the fact he outweighed Joshua by over 20 pounds encouraged the perception that he had little chance of success.

He had only been installed as his challenger with little over a month’s notice after a suspension for Joshua’s previous opponent Jarrell Miller had ruled him out, and he had also lost his only previous world title fight, in 2016 to Joseph Parker, who had since gone on to lose his undefeated record to Joshua.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who Ruiz Jr had repeatedly contacted in an attempt to force Saturday’s fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden, is planning an immediate rematch in the UK this winter. 

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