By Gilbert Manzano
CARSON, Calif. — Andy Ruiz Jr.’s quick hands served as a reminder on Saturday that size doesn’t always matter in the heavyweight division.
Ruiz recorded a fifth-round technical knockout against Alexander Dimitrenko in the co-main event bout of the Danny Garcia-Adrian Granados undercard at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Ruiz is five inches shorter than Dimitrenko, but he made him come down in size by punishing him with fast combinations during their 10-round bout. Dimitrenko was unable to continue fighting for the sixth round.
In the fourth round, Ruiz nearly recorded a knockdown, but Dimitrenko was able to gather himself. But that was the beginning of the end for the winded fighter from Germany.
Ruiz, who spent many years with Top Rank, could now be in position to receive big fights after his impressive performance in his Premier Boxing Champions debut.
In his lone world title shot, Ruiz had a strong performance in a majority decision loss to Joseph Parker in New Zealand in 2016. With three consecutive wins since the defeat, Ruiz might not be far off from receiving another shot at a world title.
Ruiz said at his media workout this week he would be willing to fight Anthony Joshua on short notice. Joshua, the WBA/WBO/IBF champion, is in need off an opponent for June 1 after Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller failed three drug tests.
It’s not likely that Ruiz receives a call from promoter Eddie Hearn to fight Joshua, but he proved Saturday that he can fight with the best heavyweights. Skills, however, has not been his issues. His struggles have come on the scales. He weighed in at 262 pounds for the fight against Dimitrenko.
"I've come a long way to get in this shape,” Ruiz said earlier this week. “I just have to stay disciplined and put in the hard work and I'll be fighting for a world title soon."
As for the Russian-born Dimitrenko, he suffers another defeat against a quality opponent. Coming into the bout, Dimitrenko had losses to Parker, Bryant Jennings and Kubrat Pulev.