ANDY RUIZ JR floored Luis Ortiz THREE times on his way to returning with a victory in the ring.

The pair headlined over 12 rounds in Los Angeles with former unified heavyweight champion Ruiz walking away with a points win.

Andy Ruiz Jr beat Luis Ortiz in his return fight

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Andy Ruiz Jr beat Luis Ortiz in his return fightCredit: AP
The heavyweight clash went the distance

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The heavyweight clash went the distanceCredit: AP

He dropped Ortiz twice in round two before putting the Cuban veteran down again in the seventh.

The scorecards revealed the fight to be close, with Ruiz’s knockdowns actually securing him the victory.

He said: “Since the jump I thought people were doubting me and thought I was going to get my ass knocked down and what not.

“I worked so hard for this fight because I know he’s a warrior and he hits hard.

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“I thought I did a beautiful job boxing and countering, I thought I showed some different class than I usually do instead of just pressuring him and going forward.”

Ortiz, 43, last boxed in January when he beat ex-champ Charles Martin, 35, in six wild rounds.

And Ruiz, 32, came back for the first time since May of last year when he laboured past Chris Arreola, 41, over the distance.

The opening round against Ortiz was a cagey affair but the fight kicked into gear in the second.

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Ruiz landed a thudding right hook on the temple, which instantly sunk Ortiz to the canvas.

The former title challenger made it to his feet but was immediately bundled over with a second knockdown scored.

Ruiz looked on his way to an early night’s work until he decided to take his foot off the gas.

Ortiz ended up boxing his way back into the bout by keeping the action long and on the end of his southpaw jab.

By the half way mark and both were landing power punches but in round seven Ortiz was again picking himself up from the deck.

Ruiz threw a lightening combination and as Ortiz came up from ducking underneath, he took another right hook to the temple.

But the ageing heavyweight again beat the count and fought on with a menacing smile on his face.

Following a hat-trick on knockdowns, again Ruiz failed to follow up and Ortiz pulled himself back into it.

Andy Ruiz Jr on the end of a Luis Ortiz hook

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Andy Ruiz Jr on the end of a Luis Ortiz hookCredit: Premier Boxing Champions
Andy Ruiz Jr scored three knockdowns

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Andy Ruiz Jr scored three knockdownsCredit: Premier Boxing Champions

By the 11th, his left eye was brutally closed but Ortiz refused to give in and made a late push.

In the final three minutes, Ruiz had to sustain serious pressure but defended well enough to see the fight out.

The scorecards read 113-112 an 114-111 twice in Ruiz’s favour, giving him the victory on points.

It was also an eliminator for the WBC title held by Tyson Fury, 34, who is expected to unify against Oleksandr Usyk, 35.

Deontay Wilder, 36, meanwhile faces Robert Helenius, 38, in a separate eliminator in his return fight on October 15.

It means if Wilder, who was ringside in LA, wins he and Ruiz are in line for a huge all-American clash next year.

Wilder said: “Deontay Wilder is back. We’re always looking for great exciting fights we love to give the fans.

“So if that’s what is lined up next, I’ve got to handle business and after that, we can get it on.”

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Ruiz called on Premier Boxing Champions boss Al Haymon to make the fight happen.

He said: “Me and him are in the same organisation, I want to thank Al Haymon, he can make this fight happen and let’s do it, let’s get it on.”