Deontay Wilder survives Luis Ortiz scare, virtually sets up Anthony Joshua unification clash

by Ajit Singh Khanna | Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2018 | 0

15 seconds before the end of the fifth round, Deontay Wilder connected a maverick right hand that knocked his opponent Luis Ortiz down. That was the only round he had won till then.

Such thrilling was Wilder’s seventh defense of the WBC heavyweight belt, which he retained following a 10th-round knock out of Ortiz at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.

The win saw him extend his unbeaten record to 40-0 (39 KOs) as well as virtually guarantee himself a blockbuster unification showdown with IBF, IBO and WBA holder Anthony Joshua, who fights WBO champion Joseph Parker on March 31.

Saturday night, however, almost dashed all of Wilder’s future plans. The 6’7” heavyweight was outboxed by the previously unbeaten ‘King Kong’ in the first four rounds of the scheduled 12-round bout.

He somehow got the better of Ortiz’s chin in the fifth, but the latter managed to beat the referee’s count.

Ortiz showed signs of recovery in the sixth, and what followed in next round stunned one and all (Wilder being no exception).

The American ‘Bronze Bomber’ was rocked by a massive left cross from his southpaw opponent. A series of combinations and some wild swings were then unleashed by Ortiz that had Wilder on the ropes.

Somehow, Wilder managed to cling on. He was saved by the bell, critics may say. Some would also argue that he was lucky referee didn’t stop the fight.

Phew! Wilder had survived a stoppage scare.

The story took a turn from thereon though. The 32-year-old gathered all his experience to regroup in the next couple of rounds before doing what he does the best – unleashing wild swings and having his opponent on knees.

Ortiz beat the count once, but not the second time. ‘And the still’ champion was announced.

“A true champion always finds a way to come back and that’s what I did tonight,” Wilder was quoted as saying by “Luis Ortiz is definitely a crafty guy. He put up a great fight. We knew we had to wear him down. I showed everyone I can take a punch.”

“When he leaves tonight Ortiz can hold his head high. He gave the fans a hell of a fight. … Luis Ortiz was one of those fighters that everyone ducked. Even champions ducked him. I wondered why it took so long for him to get a title shot and now we know.”

At the end of the day, Wilder got the job done. Over to Joshua now!


Sergey Kovalev defended his WBO light heavyweight belt with a seventh round knockout of Igor Mikhalin.

Kell Brook won the vacant silver super welterweight tile with a two-round bashing of Siarhei Rabchanka.

Dmitry Bivol defended the WBA light heavyweight title with a stunning performance that saw him knock Sullivan Barrera in the 12th round.







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