IMPERIAL, Calif. - A sense of euphoria gripped the small town of Imperial on Saturday as their hero, boxing champ Andy Ruiz Jr., came home to an adoring celebration.
Alex Cardenas, IID Director Division 1, said, “This is crazy and this is perfect. This is what Imperial County is all about, it’s about family, it’s about coming together and recognizing one of our own. We have the heavy weight champion of the world that comes from Imperial County.”
Hundreds of people countywide crowded together at the parade and rally along downtown streets.
Heber resident Yolanda Barrios said, “Very proud that he represents us Mexican people and that makes us proud.”
El Centro resident Teresa Caballero said, “He’s bringing a lot of pride to the valley with his heavyweight world championship. It’s a revolution for us. Something unexpected. So, we’re all excited.”
Brawley resident Lisa Velasco said, “and I’m here to give him the best cookies, brown bag cookies in town and I’m here to support him.”
Ruiz overcame all odds to be where he’s at.
Roberto Caballero, from El Centro, said, “For me it was a big surprise. It was a privilege. Because, honestly, I didn’t think he was going to win. But, by the grace of god, we have the first Mexican world champion here in the Imperial Valley.”
Sara Reza of El Centro said Ruiz is now a role model for kids and an inspiration for everyone else.
“As his dreams became true, other kids can also accomplish the same thing,” Reza said.
They said one man’s dream has ignited those of others in the area.
“To see this happen gives so much hope to all of our community, all those that aspire to be community leaders and champions. This is huge for our county,” Cardenas said.
Cheryl Von Flue of Imperial said, “Keep your dreams alive. Just do it. Step by step,”
Next up is one of the most anticipated rematches in boxing history: Ruiz versus Joshua – part two.
Ruiz accepted the fight against former champion Anthony Joshua with only four weeks’ notice.
Please watch our newscast for more information.