Is being of Mexican blood the same as being Mexican? Since spring 2019 the name of the Mexican Andy ruiz, born in Imperial Valley, California, became more popular in the world of boxing and also greater controversy: Is he really the first Mexican to be crowned world champion in heavyweight?
In June 2019, Andy ruiz, a practically unknown heavyweight in Mexico, gave one of the biggest upsets in boxing history by knocking out Anthony Joshua, champion AMB, FIB Y OMB. Immediately, even though he was not born in Mexico, the narrative around Ruiz he was built as the first Mexican to reign in the highest category.
The fat of Ruiz, added the value of challenging the then unified full champion Anthony Joshua; his boyish face and effervescent charisma won the spirits of demanding boxing fans in Mexico and the United States.
From overnight, Ruiz it became a Cinderella story sheltered by the US media and television establishment in Mexico. “The handsome fat man” that Snickers ate in interviews.
To date, people still wonder how Mexican is the chubby boxer who claims to be from Mexicali, but who only speaks and writes in English on his social networks?
Without the intention of creating stereotypes based on appearance, nationality or racial origin, it is worth delving into the Mexican roots of Andy. His parents are nationals, they were born and lived in Mexicali in the second half of the 20th century.
When Andy He was born on September 11, 1989m his mother gave birth in the city of Imperial Valley, just 20 kilometers north of Mexicali where his parents grew up, lived and married.
Andy Ruiz is Mexican by law
First, the legal. Ruiz It is the product of the shared border, of the need for Mexicans to cross legally, or illegally, to the other side to work and educate their children. Millions of Mexicans have done it daily for decades.
The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States says it very clearly: “Whoever was born abroad and is the child of a Mexican born in national territory has Mexican nationality; also those who are born in Mexico and their mother or father (or both) are foreigners ”.
Since 1998, the Mexican Nationality Law allows Mexican people to have another nationality in addition to Mexican.
The beginnings of Andy Ruiz were in Mexican boxing
This Nationality Law allowed Ruiz compete for Baja California in the boxing tournaments of the Children’s and Youth Olympiad of Conade in its first editions of the 2000s. Right at the foundations of organized amateur boxing in Mexican sport.
By law, origin, genes and tradition, Andy ruiz He is Mexican with dual US citizenship.
Five days after knocking out Joshua, when being interviewed by Chava Rodriguez, from ESPN, Ruiz He made it clear that he is not only legally Mexican, but that he has it in his blood.
“All those who think that I am not Mexican, simply because I was born in the United States are wrong,” he said. Ruiz. “I represented Mexico trying to go to the Olympics. I am always fighting for Imperial Valley and Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. In my professional and amateur fights I have always mentioned Mexico. My mom and dad are from Mexicali, and I feel more Mexican than others who were born in Mexico because I fought for my race and for Mexico ”.
The frustrated dream of representing Mexico in the Olympic Games
His childhood weight problems were always evident. According Andy He was going through this stage of his life, his father was so concerned about the health of his son that he enrolled him in all kinds of team sports and even swimming.
None of that conquered the taste of Andy because those disciplines did not allow her to rebel against the ‘bullying’ of which she was imprisoned at school. Suddenly it happened. Andy ruiz He found in amateur boxing what it takes to show his inner strength by being accepted.
On the Mexican side of the border, with the discipline of local tournaments, he understood that he could represent Mexico internationally and climb the podium with the flag on his shoulders.
It was in 1995 when Andy he knew what it was like to put on gloves in a gym in Mexicali. It was the gym of one of his uncles, however his childhood debut as a fan would be until a year later.
The start of the public program promoted by the National Sports Commission in Mexico that created the National Children’s and Youth Olympiad at the end of the 90s was a key event in the career of Andy. It opened the door for him to represent his parents’ home state of Baja California and to improve in the national and international rankings in pursuit of a ticket to the 2008 Olympics.
With that plan in mind and once the ‘chubby’ had already opted for sweet science, he showed explosive strength, coordination and speed to combine. He initiated a realistic plan to improve in the later cycle of the 2004 Olympiad.
From the hand of his first coach, the Cuban Fernando Ferrer, He accumulated a record of 105-5 fighting for Baja California with the support of the State Sports Commission.
His main achievements, in 2005 and 2006, were winning the gold medal in the National Olympiad in consecutive years, always representing the Mexican state of Baja California. Ruiz He seemed to be ahead of schedule in his development as a boxer.
That progress was only slowed by the bad habits of Andy because when he joined the Mexican team in 2006 he weighed 128 kilos. The first time he lost weight, he lost 18 kilos and then reached 105.
In 2008, Andy ruiz He tried to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, already as part of Mexico’s national pre-Olympic boxing team. However, his aspiration was abruptly thwarted after suffering two consecutive losses in qualifying tournaments.
In March of that year, Andy participated in the Olympic Qualifying tournament of America, an event held in Trinidad and Tobago. There he beat the Puerto Rican in the preliminary round Geraldo Bisbal. However, in the next round he lost to the Cuban Robert Alfonso.
In April, Andy had another chance, but now in a qualifying tournament played in Guatemala, there he defeated the Costa Rican German Sandi. When we reach the quarterfinals, Ruiz fell to the Colombian Oscar Rivas.
In an interview for the magazine Process, Francisco Bonilla, the coach of the 2008 national representative in Trinidad and Tobago recounted an anecdote of Andy against the cuban Robert Alonso.
“The people who attended the arena came out surprised because the complexion of the rival (of Andy) was very similar to that of Anthony Joshua“, remember Bonilla. “They did not give credit that a fighter with the characteristics of Andy would give so much opposition to the Cuban. Few gave him the opportunity to have that performance, but he always grows in the face of difficulties. Although he lost by split decision in a scream fight, he was cheered and carried on his shoulders. They thanked him for his delivery in the ring. “
With this result the dream of the ‘Destroyer’ to reach the Olympic Games was destroyed.
Only his teammates Oscar Valdez, Francisco “Bandido” Vargas Y Arturo Santos it was the Mexican athletes who represented Mexican boxing in Beijing.
However, none of them managed to qualify beyond the quarterfinals, so there was no medal for Mexico in this discipline.
Professional debut in Mexico
Although he went through a period of time where he increased his body weight to over 150 kilos (331 pounds), Andy He recovered physically and made his professional debut in 2009.
He did a fight agreed to three rounds against his compatriot Miguel Salvador Ramirez, in the Plaza de Toros de Tijuana, Baja California. Ruiz made it clear that his professional career was beginning in earnest. He dropped his rival in the first round and forced him to stop in the second round by knockout. Ruiz he weighed 135 kilos on that occasion, making it clear that he had the discipline.
His next two fights, the second and third as a professional, Andy ruiz He also did them on Mexican soil, fighting and winning in Mexicali.
That was the Aztec origin of Andy ruiz, the protagonist of a career that took him ten years to rise briefly as the first Mexican to become a unified heavyweight world champion.