Andy Ruiz Jr was 29 years old when he won the WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBO heavyweight boxing championships. However he took on his first high level champion at the age of 16, when he Sparred UFC vet Andrei Arlovski.
Ruiz shocked the world when he defeated Anthony Joshua to become boxing’s first Mexican Heavyweight champion. Although he would ultimately lose the belt in the rematch a few months later, his underdog story is remarkable. Not only that, but his skills as a legitimate boxer were finally recognized.
However, what few realize is that when he was 16 years old, Andy Ruiz Jr was working on those skills, against one of MMA’s pioneers. A video recently surfaced, showing a young Andy taking on former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski. The footage was taken in sparring, and shows the two going back and forth.
“I was 16 years old when I had the honor to spar with UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski . Super tough guy lived up to his name The Pitbull. I did manage to give him some trouble tho. ? Thanks champ!”
If this was when Ruiz was 16, it was about 14-15 years ago. That means, this would have been right around the time Arlovski beat Tim Sylvia to become the interim heavyweight king. That belt would soon be promoted to undisputed, as it was defenses twice, before he lost to Sylvia in a rematch.
It is certainly mind blowing to see these two elite heavyweights go at it, especially before Andy Ruiz Jr had a name. Nowadays, with Andrei Arlovski well past his prime, things would likely go way different.