John Ruiz

John Ruiz (born January 4, 1972) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2010, and held the WBA heavyweight title twice between 2001 and 2005. Ruiz is of Puerto Rican descent, and is the first Latino boxer to win a world heavyweight title.[1]

John Ruiz
John Ruiz.jpg
Ruiz with the WBA heavyweight title at the White House, 2001
Nickname(s)The Quietman
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Reach78 in (198 cm)
Born (1972-01-04) January 4, 1972 (age 49)
Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights55
Wins by KO30
No contests1

Amateur careerEdit

  • 1991: Competed as a light heavyweight at the World Championships in Sydney, Australia. Results were:
  • 1992: Competed at the Olympic Trials in Worcester. Result was:

Professional careerEdit

His professional record is 44–9–1–1, with 30 knockouts. Frustrated by years of criticism from the boxing press and fans, he retired upon his second loss of the WBA title on April 30, 2005 (to James "Lights-Out" Toney). Ruiz un-retired in 10 days, after finding out that James Toney had tested positive for anabolic steroids. The official outcome, a unanimous-decision defeat, was changed to a no-contest; the WBA ordered that Ruiz retain the title. Ruiz then filed a lawsuit against Toney, claiming that he had damaged Ruiz's boxing career (due to Toney's use of illegal steroids before their bout).

On December 17, 2005, he lost his title for the first time—in controversial fashion—to Nikolai Valuev. Ruiz lost a rematch for the vacant WBA Heavyweight title with Valuev on August 30, 2008, once again in controversial fashion.

First reign as WBA heavyweight championEdit

After Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield for the undisputed (WBA, WBC, and IBF) heavyweight title in late 1999, the WBA ordered Lewis to defend the title against mandatory challenger Ruiz, but Lewis refused. Though he had been undefeated since a loss against David Tua in 1996, the level of competition Ruiz had been facing was suspect and the only name he had beaten (to date) was a nearly 40-year-old Tony Tucker.

Ruiz and his management sued, claiming that WBA rules entitled him to a title shot. A judge agreed, but rather than face Ruiz in a bout that was seen as commercially unattractive, Lewis instead fought Michael Grant, considered to be a very worthy contender at the time, having knocked out a series of recognized "name" opponents on HBO. After learning of this, the judge decreed that upon entering the ring against Grant on April 29, 2000, Lewis would automatically forfeit the WBA title.

Ruiz vs. HolyfieldEdit

Ruiz fought former champion Holyfield to fill the vacancy on August 12, 2000, losing by unanimous decision (this result made Holyfield the first to win a world heavyweight title on four occasions). Many observers and boxing reporters felt that the underdog Ruiz had done enough to win.

Due to this controversial decision, the WBA ordered an immediate rematch in early 2001, and Ruiz won the WBA title. Some critics still believe the decision was controversial (Ruiz was on the ground for a few minutes after Holyfield appeared to deliver a low punch to the groin). Footage following the match showed that the punch may have been legal, but it wasn't disputed.

Ruiz defended the title twice: a controversial draw in a third match against Holyfield where the press believed Holyfield to have won, and a disqualification victory against Kirk Johnson where the Canadian contender was disqualified for repeated low blows in the tenth round. Ruiz was accused in both the second Holyfield fight and the Johnson fight of faking low blows that actually seemed to be closer to his beltline than his groin (although Johnson was shown on replays to hit Ruiz below the belt several times).

Ruiz vs Jones Jr.Edit

On March 1, 2003, Ruiz was contracted to fight Roy Jones, Jr., who at the time was The Ring light heavyweight champion. If Jones was to beat Ruiz in the fight, he would join Bob Fitzsimmons, Michael Spinks, and Michael Moorer as the only three fighters to win titles at light heavyweight and heavyweight as well as becoming the second fighter (Fitzsimmons being the first) to win titles at both middleweight and heavyweight. Ruiz, who said referee Jay Nady "wouldn't let me fight my fight", lost a unanimous decision to Jones and moved back into the WBA's contender pool.

Second reign as WBA heavyweight championEdit

Ruiz, however, would receive another shot before 2003 was out. As champion Jones was required to face the WBA's number one contender, former WBO champion Vitali Klitschko. Neither the Jones nor the Klitschko camps were able to agree to a fight by an imposed deadline, so Jones became a champion-in-recess. Klitschko, however, did not want to fight the #2 contender, former WBC, IBF, and lineal champion Hasim Rahman, for the interim championship. After David Tua, the #3 contender, also turned down the fight against Rahman, Ruiz, the #5 contender and the only one interested in the fight, decided to accept. He fought Rahman on December 13, 2003, and with a unanimous decision victory became the WBA's interim champion. When Jones announced on February 24, 2004, that he would return to competing in the light heavyweight division, the WBA took the interim tag off Ruiz, and he became an official two-time WBA heavyweight champion.

On April 17, 2004, Ruiz fought the first defense of his second world title. He retained it with an eleventh-round technical knockout of Fres Oquendo at Madison Square Garden. This fight was historic in that it was the first time two Hispanics/Latinos faced each other for a version of world heavyweight title.

On November 13 of that same year, Ruiz retained the belt with a controversial unanimous decision over Polish-American[2] Andrzej Gołota (a.k.a., "Andrew" Golota) – among other things he suffered two knockdowns and a one-point deduction by referee Randy Neumann. Ruiz vs Golata was the Main event of Don King's Night of Heavyweights card, it did 120,000 Pay-Per-View buys[3]

On April 30, 2005, Ruiz lost the title to James "Lights Out" Toney in Madison Square Garden by unanimous decision, marking the second time that Ruiz had lost to a former middleweight champion. However, after Toney failed the post-match drug test (for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid), the New York Athletic Commission suspended him from boxing in the United States for 90 days, and fined him $10,000 (U.S.). The WBA banned the aging (then 36 years old) Toney from fighting for its heavyweight title for the next two years. This resulted in Toney's win being changed to a "no contest"—basically, a nullification. Ruiz came out of retirement before it was found out that Toney would be suspended and he would be reinstated as champion.

Controversial loss to ValuevEdit

On December 17, 2005, Ruiz lost the WBA Championship in Berlin to 7 ft. tall, 324-lb. Russian Nikolai Valuev. The official outcome was a majority decision (scored 114–116, 113–116, and 114–114), but it was also a controversial one. Ruiz was convinced that his jab/combination-punch technique had given him a clear victory. He demanded that his promoter, Don King, set up an immediate re-match with the now-first-ever Russian world heavyweight champion. Ruiz's long-time manager, Norman Stone, declared that they would also formally petition the WBA: after all, the 10,000 German spectators booed when the decision was announced. Ruiz's camp claimed that the Germans booed because they too felt that the outcome was unjust. Wilfried Sauerland, the manager who rescued Valuev's career from obscurity two years earlier, angrily countered that the fans had booed because Stone's in-ring behavior had agitated them.[4]

In September 2006 Ruiz announced that he would be managed by Sauerland. His former manager Norman Stone retired on December 22, 2005, stating that the decision in the loss to Valuev was the last straw, and he would continue to support Ruiz from retirement.[5]

Road back to title contentionEdit

After the loss Don King announced his intention to still promote Ruiz. King had become aware of Ruiz after his KO win over the former IBF title holder Tony Tucker in 1998.[6] Ruiz followed up the loss to Valuev with a fight against up-and-coming contender Ruslan Chagaev. In a close fight, Chagaev prevailed, taking a split decision with scores of 117–111 and 116–112 for Chagaev, and 115–114 for Ruiz. Chagaev became the mandatory challenger for a shot at Valuev, whom he defeated on April 14, 2007, to claim the WBA heavyweight championship.

Another comebackEdit

Ruiz faced Otis Tisdale on October 13, 2007, and ended the fight with a TKO victory in the second round as referee Pete Podgorski called a halt to the bout as Tisdale went down for the third time. The bout was scheduled for 10 rounds. On March 8, 2008, Ruiz won a 12-round unanimous decision over Jameel McCline in Mexico.

Ruiz vs. Valuev IIEdit

Valuev defeated Ruiz by unanimous decision on August 30, 2008. Scores were 114–113, 116–113, and 116–111. The result was initially declared a split decision win for Valuev. The 114–113 score by ringside judge Takeshi Shimakawa was announced in favor of Ruiz. Shimakawa alerted WBA officials after that his score was intended for Valuev. One of the scorecards had the names of the fighters in opposite order, resulting in the confusion.

The decision was once again unpopular with the live crowd as some booed the outcome, much like the first match in December 2005.

Final world title shotEdit

After petitioning the WBA to protest against the outcome of his controversial fight with Valuev, Ruiz was made the WBA's mandatory challenger to fight the winner of Chagaev-Valuev II in 2009. As that bout was cancelled, Ruiz stepped aside as mandatory challenger so Valuev could fight Cruiserweight Champion David Haye. On the undercard to that fight Ruiz stopped Adnan Serin in 7 rounds. Ruiz, coming in at 226 pounds (his lightest since 2001), dominated his overmatched opponent to retain his mandatory challenge to the WBA belt. Valuev later lost a majority decision to David Haye, meaning Ruiz would now fight Haye for the WBA title, after Haye had recovered from a hand injury. When the fight took place on April 3 at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, Ruiz lost to Haye by TKO when his corner threw in the towel in the ninth round after suffering four knockdowns in the previous rounds. Ruiz, whose face was covered in blood, could not stand up to Haye's greater speed and power.


Following his loss to David Haye, Ruiz announced his retirement after an 18-year boxing career. In 2013, he opened Quietman Sports Gym in Medford, Massachusetts, offering both boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts) training to all ages. While all ages are welcome, he focuses on providing an alternative for at-risk children and teenagers in the Greater Boston area. He has also indicated that he wants to return to boxing in some capacity as either a manager or trainer at some point.[7] In 2014, ranked Ruiz as number 83 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time".[8]

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
55 fights 44 wins 9 losses
By knockout 30 2
By decision 13 7
By disqualification 1 0
Draws 1
No contests 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
55 Loss 44–9–1 (1)   David Haye TKO 9 (12), 2:01 Mar 4, 2010   MEN Arena, Manchester, England For WBA heavyweight title
54 Win 44–8–1 (1)   Adnan Serin TKO 7 (10) Nov 7, 2009   Nuremberg Arena, Nuremberg, Germany
53 Loss 43–8–1 (1)   Nikolai Valuev UD 12 Aug 30, 2008   Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin, Germany For vacant WBA heavyweight title
52 Win 43–7–1 (1)   Jameel McCline UD 12 Mar 8, 2008   Plaza de Toros, Cancún, Mexico
51 Win 42–7–1 (1)   Otis Tisdale TKO 2 (10), 0:45 Oct 13, 2007   Sears Centre Arena, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, U.S.
50 Loss 41–7–1 (1)   Ruslan Chagaev SD 12 Nov 18, 2006   Burg-Wächter Castello, Düsseldorf, Germany
49 Loss 41–6–1 (1)   Nikolai Valuev MD 12 Dec 17, 2005   Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin, Germany Lost WBA heavyweight title
48 NC 41–5–1 (1)   James Toney UD 12 Apr 30, 2005   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained WBA heavyweight title;
For IBA heavyweight title;
Originally a UD win for Toney, later ruled an NC after he failed a drug test
47 Win 41–5–1   Andrew Golota UD 12 Nov 13, 2004   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained WBA heavyweight title
46 Win 40–5–1   Fres Oquendo TKO 11 (12), 2:33 Apr 17, 2004   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained WBA heavyweight title
45 Win 39–5–1   Hasim Rahman UD 12 Dec 13, 2003   Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won WBA interim heavyweight title
44 Loss 38–5–1   Roy Jones Jr. UD 12 Mar 1, 2003   Thomas & Mack Center Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBA heavyweight title
43 Win 38–4–1   Kirk Johnson DQ 10 (12), 2:17 Jul 27, 2002   Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA heavyweight title;
Johnson disqualified for repeated low blows
42 Draw 37–4–1   Evander Holyfield SD 12 Dec 15, 2001   Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S. Retained WBA heavyweight title
41 Win 37–4   Evander Holyfield UD 12 Mar 3, 2001   Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won WBA heavyweight title
40 Loss 36–4   Evander Holyfield UD 12 Aug 12, 2000   Paris Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For vacant WBA heavyweight title
39 Win 36–3   Thomas Williams TKO 2 (12), 0:50 Dec 11, 1999   Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S. Retained NABA heavyweight title
38 Win 35–3   Fernely Feliz TKO 7 (12), 3:00 Jun 12, 1999   Aleppo Shrine Auditorium, Wilmington, Massachusetts, U.S. Won vacant WBA–NABA heavyweight title
37 Win 34–3   Mario Cawley TKO 4 (12), 1:09 Mar 13, 1999   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained WBA–NABA heavyweight title
36 Win 33–3   Jerry Ballard TKO 4 (12), 2:17 Sep 19, 1998   Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Retained NABF heavyweight title;
Won vacant WBANABA heavyweight title
35 Win 32–3   Tony Tucker TKO 11 (12), 0:58 Jan 31, 1998   Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida, U.S. Retained NABF heavyweight title
34 Win 31–3   Ray Anis TKO 1 (12), 0:22 Jun 17, 1997   Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S. Retained NABF heavyweight title
33 Win 30–3   Jimmy Thunder SD 12 Jan 14, 1997   Hale Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. Won vacant NABF heavyweight title
32 Win 29–3   Yuriy Yelistratov TKO 3 Nov 26, 1996   York Hall, London, England
31 Win 28–3   Nathaniel Fitch TKO 3 (6) Oct 25, 1996   The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
30 Win 27–3   Greg Pickrom TKO 1 (10) Jul 18, 1996   The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
29 Win 26–3   Doug Davis TKO 6 (10) Jun 6, 1996   The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
28 Loss 25–3   David Tua KO 1 (12), 0:19 Mar 15, 1996   Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Lost WBC International heavyweight title
27 Win 25–2   Steve Pannell TKO 4 (10), 1:28 Oct 7, 1995   Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
26 Win 24–2   Willie Jackson KO 1 (10) Aug 24, 1995   Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S.
25 Win 23–2   Derrick Roddy KO 2 (12), 2:56 Jun 16, 1995   Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre, London, England Won vacant WBC International heavyweight title
24 Win 22–2   Michael Murray TKO 4 (10) May 17, 1995   Ipswich, England
23 Win 21–2   Jack Basting TKO 1 (8) Mar 30, 1995   York Hall, London, England
22 Win 20–2   Boris Powell UD 10 Feb 4, 1995   Silver Nugget, North Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
21 Win 19–2   Rick Sullivan KO 2 Oct 1, 1994   The Roxy, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
20 Loss 18–2   Danell Nicholson SD 12 Aug 4, 1994   Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S. For vacant IBO heavyweight title
19 Win 18–1   Muhammad Askai TKO 2 Jun 25, 1994   Revere, Massachusetts, U.S.
18 Win 17–1   Julius Francis KO 4 (8), 2:38 May 25, 1994   Colston Hall, Bristol, England
17 Win 16–1   Carl Williams PTS 6 Nov 27, 1993   Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
16 Win 15–1   Cordwell Hylton PTS 6 Nov 3, 1993   Whitchurch Leisure Centre, Bristol, England
16 Loss 14–1   Sergei Kobozev SD 10 Aug 12, 1993   Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
14 Win 14–0   Exum Speight UD 8 Jun 25, 1993   Athletic Club, Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S.
13 Win 13–0   George Chambers KO 1 Apr 30, 1993   Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S.
12 Win 12–0   Mark Sonnier TKO 1 Apr 16, 1993   Cyclorama Building, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
11 Win 11–0   Juan Quintana PTS 6 Apr 3, 1993   Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S.
10 Win 10–0   Lorenzo Poole KO 1 Mar 20, 1993   Revere, Massachusetts, U.S.
9 Win 9–0   Derrick Jones TKO 1 Mar 5, 1993   Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
8 Win 8–0   Phil Prince KO 1 Feb 20, 1993   Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
7 Win 7–0   Miguel Rosa TKO 2 Jan 30, 1993   Commonwealth Armory, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
6 Win 6–0   John Basil Jackson PTS 6 Jan 16, 1993   Belmont, New Hampshire, U.S.
5 Win 5–0   Jesus Rohena TKO 1, 1:46 Dec 10, 1992   Teachers Union Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
4 Win 4–0   John Basil Jackson PTS 6 Nov 13, 1992   Revere, Massachusetts, U.S.
3 Win 3–0   Barry Kirton TKO 2 Nov 3, 1992   Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.
2 Win 2–0   Mike Vasser KO 1 Sep 12, 1992   Wonderland Greyhound Park, Revere, Massachusetts, U.S.
1 Win 1–0   Kevin Parker UD 4 Aug 20, 1992   Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Professional debut

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rafael, Dan. "Ex-champ Ruiz retires from boxing". ESPN. Retrieved 30 September 2016. Ruiz, whose family is from Puerto Rico, has lived and trained in Las Vegas for the past several years, but he said he plans to return to the Boston area he was closely associated with during his career.
  2. ^ "Lots of Fighting, but Little Resolution for Boxing's Heavyweights". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Angry Ruiz wants rematch after losing WBA title", ESPN, December 19, 2005
  5. ^ "John Ruiz' manager Norman Stone retires", Boxing Press, December 22, 2005
  6. ^ [1] Archived March 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "John Ruiz retires | Boxing News". Fightnews. 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  8. ^ McGrain, Matt (June 20, 2014). "The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Two: 90-81". Retrieved May 12, 2017.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
James Oyebola
WBC International heavyweight champion
June 16, 1995 – March 15, 1996
Succeeded by
David Tua
Title last held by
Tony Tucker
NABF heavyweight champion
January 14, 1997 – January 1999
Title next held by
Michael Grant
Title last held by
Francois Botha
WBANABA heavyweight champion
September 19, 1998 – May 1999
Title next held by
Derrick Jefferson
Title last held by
Derrick Jefferson
WBA–NABA heavyweight champion
June 12, 1999 – August 12, 2000
Lost bid for world title
Title next held by
Nate Jones
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Evander Holyfield
WBA heavyweight champion
March 3, 2001March 1, 2003
Succeeded by
Roy Jones Jr.
New title WBA heavyweight champion
Interim title

December 13, 2003 – February 20, 2004
Title next held by
Luis Ortiz
Preceded by
Roy Jones Jr.
as champion in recess
WBA heavyweight champion
February 20, 2004 – December 17, 2005
Succeeded by
Nikolai Valuev