Report: Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz heavyweight title clash set for November
During a calendar year for the sport of boxing which has already been described as resurgent, a major storyline has been the resuscitation of the heavyweights.
The long-dormant division received a shot in the arm from the April slugfest between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko that could finish as 2017’s fight of the year. And it could receive a similar one for a fight that has been rumored for months.
According to a Yahoo Sports report late Tuesday, Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight championship on Nov. 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, against fellow unbeaten Luis Ortiz.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) teased the notion Tuesday that Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) would be his next opponent by playing up the former Cuban amateur star’s nickname of “King Kong.”
Not only does the fight offer incredible potential for fireworks between a pair of unbeaten and still not yet completely tested sluggers, it’s a massive step forward in terms of achieving a great sense of clarity within the division.
While both fighters are represented by the same manager in Al Haymon, it’s a bit of a surprise to see Wilder, 31, take on such a difficult test before getting the shot at a massive payday against Joshua. But a source also told Yahoo Sports that Wilder, realizing he couldn’t land a Joshua fight anytime soon, simply wanted to fight the best opponent he could to build his case with the public.
Ortiz, 38, didn’t turn pro until 2010 after a long amateur career. But the menacing southpaw remains the wild card of the division and has the potential to become the last man standing once everything gets sorted out.
At 6-foot-4, Ortiz has the size and strength to match up with the 6-foot-7 Wilder, who possesses the division’s most dangerous weapon in his big right hand. But the fact that Ortiz can box at such an impressive level makes him such a dangerous threat.
Ortiz formerly held an interim version of the WBA heavyweight title and defended it in his most impressive victory to date two years ago when he stopped former world title challenger Bryant Jennings by devastating 7th-round TKO.
Despite having held his version of the heavyweight title since a decision win over Bermane Stiverne in 2015, Wilder has yet to face an elite level challenger. All five of his title defenses have come via knockout in his home state of Alabama, but Wilder has looked raw and unpolished in many of them despite facing second-rate opposition.
A victory over Ortiz would likely put to bed any remaining skepticism that Wilder is anything more than a protected big puncher, which is why this matchup is so intriguing. Ortiz, meanwhile, has a chance to score the type of win that might announce him as the most dangerous threat in the division.