Boxing between countries: Andy Ruiz Jr rises above US-Mexico tensions

While Andy Ruiz Jr is the first Mexican heavyweight champion, he is not the first bicultural boxer to rise to prominence during a time of political tension between the neighboring countries

When Andy Ruiz Jr claimed his heavyweight title belt in Madison Square Garden last weekend it was the Mexican flag behind him, the flag of the country not where he was born but where his immigrant parents were from. “I’m the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world,” he said after knocking out American star Anthony Joshua.

“Everyone who thinks I’m not Mexican simply because I was born in the United States is wrong,” Ruiz told ESPN. “My mom and dad are from Mexicali, and I feel more Mexican than others who were born in Mexico because I fought for my race and for Mexico.”

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