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Former heavyweight boxing champion John Ruiz to promote mixed martial arts

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Michael Steele

Two-time WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz retired from boxing in 2010, but has returned in 2013 as a promoter of mixed martial arts. According to a press release, Ruiz, acting through his Quietman Sports, LLC, purchased American Fighting Organization (AFO), its website and existing debt. AFO, based out of New England, intends to promote both amateur and professional MMA as well as boxing events beginning in January with an amateur MMA tournament."to determine the best in New England."

"We are going to put on the best shows in New England," Ruiz said via release. "I'm investing a lot of money to promote events and fighters, in addition to putting on great MMA and boxing shows for fans."

"I'd been talking about promoting and this opportunity came out of nowhere," Ruiz continued. "AFO was structured as one of the oldest MMA promotional companies in New England. It was also in place and that was better for us than starting out from scratch. AFO's reputation within the industry may not have been the best but we've paid off its debts and are now prepared to make the new AFO the best combat sports promotional company in New England."

AFO also intends to host 12 shows in 2014 and potentially a boxing-MMA hybrid card.

"Fighters are fighters. At my gym (Quietman Sports Gym in Medford, MA) we teach MMA and boxing. It has a nice ring and cage, too. Since I retired as a boxer, I've always felt like I would get into promoting boxing, and AFO will be boxing and MMA. I want to bring more class to both sports. Our shows will offer better competition and more entertaining fights, in both MMA and boxing in New England."

Ruiz is currently the owner and operator of Quietman Sports Gym in Medford, Mass. Ruiz boxed professionally for 18 years and holds wins over Andrew Golota, Hasim Rahman, Evander Holyfield, and Fres Oquendo. He won the WBA heavyweight title twice, first in 2001 against Holyfield and again in 2003. He retired in 2010 after his corner threw in the towel in the ninth round in WBA heavyweight-title bout with David Haye.