Andy Ruiz Jr will face Tyrone Spong in his July return | Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Andy Ruiz Jr will face Tyrone Spong, who hasn’t boxed since 2019, in his return bout on July 16.
It looks as though Andy Ruiz Jr. is sticking to the slow and steady route back into the heavyweight picture. Triller announced today that “The Destroyer” will headline a July 16th Fight Club pay-per-view in Mexico City opposite kickboxing great Tyrone Spong.
— Triller Fight Club (@trillerfight) April 13, 2022
Spong (14-0, 13 KO) was unquestionably one of the finest kickboxers on the planet during his peak years, a natural light heavyweight (95 kg/209.4 lbs.) who proved equally devastating at heavyweight. These are not his peak years; “The King of the Ring” hasn’t boxed since a 2019 knockout of Jeyson Minda, as a failed drug test kept him from welcoming Oleksandr Usyk to the heavyweight division.
Instead, he returned to MMA for the first time since 2013. He was supposed to fight the completely shot Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva last January, but instead took on ancient veteran Sergei Kharitonov, who absolutely brutalized him with ground-and-pound for a second-round finish.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KO) was reportedly in talks with Luis Ortiz and Charles Martin before undergoing knee surgery, then turned down an IBF eliminator against Filip Hrgovic. Eddie Hearn attempted to set up a bout with Derek Chisora, but claimed that Ruiz was likely going to face Ortiz instead.
So much for that. If Ruiz doesn’t want to become a punchline again, he has to do better than this.