Joshua loses heavyweight belts in stunning defeat to Ruiz Jr

Andy Ruiz Jr defied the odds to sensationally upstage Anthony Joshua and dethrone the unified world heavyweight champion via a seventh-round TKO.

Joshua was expected to make light work of Ruiz Jr, who replaced Jarrell Miller for the Madison Square Garden showdown after he failed a drugs test, in his United States debut on Saturday.

However, Joshua lost his WBA, IBF and WBO belts after the referee dramatically stopped the fight in the seventh round in New York.

It was a stunning comeback by Ruiz Jr (33-1), who was sent to the canvas in the third round before dropping Joshua twice in response as the British star struggled to make it to the bell.

Joshua (22-1) appeared to find his feet but he was floored twice again in the seventh, which prompted the end to the fight in front of a shocked crowd following the huge upset – snapping his unbeaten 22-fight record.

Amid growing calls for a blockbuster clash with WBC holder Deontay Wilder, Joshua had warned of a dangerous clash against Ruiz Jr – who had won 32 of his previous 33 professional fights.

It was a cagey opening round at Madison square Garden, where Anthony towered over his American-born Mexican opponent.

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Anthony Joshua beaten by Andy Ruiz Jr
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Anthony Joshua beaten by Andy Ruiz Jr
Anthony Joshua (left) is counted down by referee Mike Griffin against Andy Ruiz Jr in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (left) is counted down by referee Mike Griffin against Andy Ruiz Jr in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (centre) in action against Andy Ruiz Jr (right) in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (right) in action against Andy Ruiz Jr in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (right) in action against Andy Ruiz Jr in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Andy Ruiz Jr (left) celebrates the win in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight against Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Andy Ruiz Jr celebrates the win in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight against Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (centre) in action against Andy Ruiz Jr (right) in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (light) and Andy Ruiz Jr after the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Andy Ruiz Jr (centre) celebrates the win in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight against Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Referee Mike Griffin waves off the fight between Anthony Joshua (left) and Andy Ruiz Jr (not shown) at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (left) spits his gum shield onto the floor as referee Mike Griffin starts a count during the match against Andy Ruiz Je at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (centre) in action against Andy Ruiz Jr (left) in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
James Corden (left) and Jamie Redknapp watches the Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (right) in action against Andy Ruiz Jr in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Andy Ruiz Jr (right) lands a punch on Anthony Joshua in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships title fight at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Anthony Joshua (centre) appears dejected after losing to Andy Ruiz Jr in the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championship match at Madison Square Garden, New York.
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Ruiz Jr came out swinging at the start of the second but Joshua managed to keep his distance, with the Brit's superior reach working to his advantage.

The fight dramatically came to life in the third round as the two heavyweights traded blows – Joshua the first to send Ruiz Jr to the canvas inside a minute.

Ruiz Jr took his time to find his feet and just as Joshua looked to have another win in the bag, the challenger responded in stunning fashion by taking down the champion.

Joshua – out of breath and struggling – was saved by the bell after he was backed into the corner and sent to the canvas, with Ruiz Jr closing in.

The fourth, fifth and sixth rounds followed a similar pattern as Joshua patiently waited for an opening but it did not come.

Instead, Ruiz Jr unleashed a flurry of punches which Joshua could not cope with as the former emerged triumphant in remarkable scenes.

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