Opinion

Ringside Pass 2019: ‘Deontay Wilder connected with a cataclysmic right hand out of nowhere. Truly fightening’

Deontay Wilder
Wilder leaves Ortiz flat on the canvas Stephanie Trapp/TGB
Deontay Wilder and Naoya Inoue catch the eye, says Paul Wheeler, as does one of the biggest upsets in history

Best fight I have seen?

For pure drama and utter astonishment, it has to be Andy Ruiz Jnr’s stoppage of Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden. It was an unforgettable experience being ringside at one of the biggest upsets in sporting history. Katie Taylor against Delfine Persoon on the undercard was a breathtaking fight, too.

Best fighter I have seen?

Naoya Inoue’s year will be defined by his victory over Nonito Donaire in their modern classic, but his brilliance really became apparent to me when he knocked out Emmanuel Rodriguez six months beforehand. The way he trounced an accomplished and unbeaten world champion in just two rounds was remarkable.

Best punch?

I had awarded all six rounds to Luis Ortiz in his rematch against Deontay Wilder, and the Cuban was well on his way to winning the seventh on my card, too. That was until Wilder connected with a cataclysmic right hand out of nowhere to deposit Ortiz unceremoniously on the canvas. His punch power is truly frightening.  

Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder has terrifying power Stephanie Trapp/TGB

Best atmosphere?

The Madison Square Garden crowd erupted during the action-packed, topsy-turvy third round between Joshua and Ruiz. It seemed like business as usual when “AJ” knocked Ruiz down, but the unheralded underdog roared back to incredibly deck Joshua twice, all in the same session. No one could believe what they were witnessing.

Worst fight?

The bout between YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul was undoubtedly highly appealing to a certain demographic, but in pure sporting terms, it certainly didn’t belong on such a lofty stage. Staples Center headliners and pay-per-view events should be reserved for elite fighters who have dedicated their lives to boxing.

Most memorable moment?

When referee Michael Griffin waved the fight off, confirming Ruiz as the new unified world heavyweight champion at the expense of massive favourite Joshua. Outside of Ruiz and his team, no one had seen it coming, but it was thoroughly deserved on the night. It was an emphatic victory in the end.

Favourite interview?

It was great to catch up with ‘The Nicest Man in Boxing’, Anthony Crolla, just days before the final fight of his career against Frank Urquiaga. He was as generous with his time as ever, even though he had countless media duties to fulfil. He should look back with pride on what he achieved in the sport and how he conducted himself.

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