Former WBA champ Ruiz wins, eyes title shot
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
Updated: 4:19 a.m. CT Oct 14, 2007
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Former WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz stopped journeyman Otis Tisdale in the second round and set his sights on another title bout Saturday night.
Ruiz had lost his previous two fights, dropping the title on a controversial majority decision to Nikolai Valuev in Berlin in December 2005. Ruiz then lost a split decision to Ruslan Chagaev in an elimination bout to determine the No. 1 ranking and mandatory challenger in November 2006.
But Saturday, he quickly shook off the rust.
Fighting on the Julio Diaz-Juan Diaz undercard, Ruiz (42-7-1, 29 KOs) knocked down Tisdale (26-19-1) twice in the first round. The fight was stopped 45 seconds into the second after Ruiz landed a right and left to the head that sent Tisdale sprawling to the canvas.
"I want to get that title," said the 35-year-old Ruiz, who had not fought since November 2006. "It got taken away from me in Germany. That's what I'm going for now. ... I'm looking forward to the next fight."
It was the first time Ruiz celebrated a win in the ring since he successfully defended the WBA belt with a unanimous decision over Andrew Golota at Madison Square Garden in November 2004. The following April, his title reign and career briefly ended after James Toney won a split decision in the same building.
Ruiz announced his retirement afterward, only to retract that a few days later. The WBA overturned Toney's win after he tested positive for steroids and declared the bout a no contest, putting the belt back around Ruiz's waist.
But the next two fights didn't go well for Ruiz.
Now, Chagaev has the WBA belt, and Ruiz wants a rematch with Valuev to become the mandatory challenger.
"Right now, I feel great," he said.
Also on the card promoted by Don King, WBA Fedelatin heavyweight champion Mike Mollo of Chicago (19-1, 12 knockouts) scored a second-round knockout over Art Binkowski (16-2). Ranked eighth in the WBA, Mollo wants to fight Golota.