He won a unanimous decision in his first fight since conceding the world heavyweight championships back to Anthony Joshua in their rematch in December 2019, a battle he lost after gaining weight and blaming “partying”.
He survived but the third round became a dramatic shoot-out with both men landing power punches.
the judges scored it 117-110, 118-109, 118-109.
He had also shed considerable weight since his fights with Joshua.
“Chris is a veteran and a hard puncher,” said Ruiz Jr. “We did what we had to do tonight. We got the victory that we wanted. I was at my lowest point and now I have to climb the ladder again. I’m thankful for the victory and I’m ready to move on to the next.
“He got me with a good clean right hand in the second round. I was too overconfident and dropped my hand a bit. Hats off to him.
“We just kept pushing and pushing. I switched up and started focusing on counter-punching and working the body.
“I felt a little rust and I know other fighters can relate to that,” said Ruiz. “If he wants to run it back, we’ll run it back with him.”