Historic Andy Ruiz win jolts elation among Mexican Americans

Mixed Martial Arts fighter Aaron Pico trains at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy on Monday, June 3, 2019, in Albuquerque, N.M. Pico said like many Mexican Americans he was inspired by Andy Ruiz Jr., who shocked the world Saturday by defeating Anthony Joshua in New York to became the first Mexican American boxing heavyweight champion of the world. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

Andy Ruiz, Jr., has become a folk hero overnight after becoming the first Mexican American heavyweight champion

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Andy Ruiz, Jr., has become a folk hero overnight after becoming the first Mexican American heavyweight champion.

Ruiz stunned the world Saturday after defeating Anthony Joshua in Madison Square Garden to capture the unified world heavyweight title over Anthony Joshua.

Few boxing experts gave the California-born Ruiz a chance and have continued to ridicule Ruiz for his potbelly. But some say his victory is shattering stereotypes around Mexican American athletes and physique.

Los Angeles-based poet Matt Sedillo says many Mexican Americans identify with Ruiz because they are often dismissed. He says his victory has generated excitement amid an uncertain political climate for Mexican Americans in the United States.

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Deepti Hajela reported from New York.

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Russell Contreras and Deepti Hajela are members of The Associated Press' race and ethnicity team. Follow Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras and Hajela at https://twitter.com/dhajela

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