Andy Ruiz Jr. has produced one of the biggest upsets in boxing history by stopping Anthony Joshua in New York.
Ruiz Jr. floored Joshua four times before the referee waved off the fight in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden.
Joshua sent the Mexican-American crashing to the canvas in the third round, but Ruiz Jr. climbed off the floor to knock Joshua down twice before the end of the round.
AJ was sent to the canvas twice more in the sixth before the referee intervened to confirm an upset which has turned the heavyweight division on its head.
Joshua has lost his first professional fight, his unbeaten record and his belts.
Ruiz. Jr has stunned the world to become Mexico’s first ever world heavyweight champion in a shock outcome which rivals Buster Douglas’ infamous win over Mike Tyson.
Joshua looked to find his range in the first, with Ruiz Jr. occupying the centre of the ring.
The Mexican-American challenger landed a nice flurry at the start of the second, but Joshua landed a tasty left hook of his own.
Joshua then sent Ruiz crashing to the canvas early in the third with a ruthless straight right and left hook in quick succession, before Ruiz stunningly returned the favour shortly afterwards.
The former Olympian’s legs were wobbling as he regained his feet, and he was floored again in the dying seconds of the round with two huge left hooks as he struggled to survive to the bell.
Joshua stayed out of danger in the fourth and looked more comfortable, before catching Ruiz with a jarring left hook late in the fifth.
He was dropped again in the seventh after a flurry of blows from Ruiz Jr., and hit the canvas again shortly afterwards after another combination.
The referee started a count before waving it off, stunning the boxing world.
Joshua was gracious in defeat, hugging Ruiz Jr. before making his way from the ring.
The English heavyweight has a rematch clause in the contract, and will now likely face Ruiz Jr. again in his next fight.
Joshua arrived in New York hoping to send a message to Deontay Wilder, but his dreams of an American debut turned into a nightmare at Madison Square Garden.
On the undercard, Katie Taylor became the undisputed lightweight world champion with a contentious majority decision victory over Delfine Persoon.
Liverpudlian Callum Smith defended his WBA super-middleweight title in style, producing an eye-catching third-round knockout win over Hassan N’Dam.
Joshua Buatsi continued his impressive rise with a fourth-round stoppage win over Marco Antonio Periban on his own US debut.
Earlier in the night, Tommy Coyle suffered a stoppage defeat to Chris Algieri after a thrilling fight which saw the Englishman almost knock his American opponent out in the second round.
David is the editor of The Season Ticket.
He is a qualified journalist, and a long-suffering Meath and Liverpool supporter.