Deontay Wilder (39-0) v Luis Ortiz (28-0); WBC World Heavyweight Title
In the early hours of Sunday morning, WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder steps into the ring to defend his title against Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz.
In Autumn 2017, the highly anticipated clash was cancelled after Ortiz failed a drug test for banned diuretics chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide. He had previously been banned for eight months after testing positive for steroid nandrolone in 2014. He is currently banned by the WBA - and therefore lost the chance of a mandatory challenge fight against current WBA/IBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua - the WBC relented to allow the fight if the Cuban born heavyweight paid a fine of $25,000.
Wilder refused to pull out of the 04th November fight date, and instead was at his destructive best, pummelling mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne in the first round. Ortiz on the other hand has only had 2 full rounds in 15 months, his most recent fight resulting in a KO of journeyman Daniel Martz.
Wilder celebrating victory after defeating Bermane Stiverne
American born Wilder, who has won 38 of his 39 fights by KO, isn’t fazed by Ortiz’ chequered boxing history, his focus is on the here and now. Speaking on his Instagram account The Bronze Bomber says: “'I promise you, you don't want to miss this one. This is one of those fights where you sit on the edge of your seat because you don't know what's going to happen.”
“Ortiz I don't give a f*** what you've taken, or what you have taken now — nothing is going to be able to stop you so make a decision baby.'’'
The typically demure Cuban was quick to retort, speaking through a translator to Premier Boxing Champions “He’s talking too much. He’s going to have to back that up in the ring. He says he’s going to kill ‘King Kong.’ He's going to knock me out. I want to watch him try. I’m not like those other guys he fought. I’m a real fighter — tough and with a lot of experience. I’ve been fighting since I was 10 years old.””
Current WBA/IBF and IBO Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua
As well as retaining the WBC Heavyweight title, a win for Wilder would open up an opportunity for a WBA/IBF and IBO unification fight with British born Anthony Joshua. AJ, revered as the biggest threat in the heavyweight division, is yet to fight in the US and a bout with Wilder could have the potential to surpass AJ’s heroics against Wladimir Klitschko. On 31st March, Joshua faces a title defence against New Zealand’s unbeaten Joseph Parker.
Despite Saturday’s fight, Wilder was keen to chat all things AJ and began by criticising the UK national and his promoter Eddie Hearn. Accusing them both of a reluctance to engage in talks, speaking to the BBC, Wilder claims he has been ready for two years, “We're ready on this side of the pond, Joshua is like a cow, Eddie Hearn is milking him for every dollar. There have been no negotiations at all, no deal has been offered. But the world wants to see me and Joshua get in the ring."
A war of words outside the ring, often acts as a well-worn distraction technique, but a fearless Ortiz has the potential to be Wilder’s toughest test yet. A merciless, nasty showcase may pose a threat, but critics argue that Ortiz is hampered by both his age and his lack of fights over a relatively long career. Wilder is looking to once again make a statement on the Heavyweight division, and his inclination that he will become possessed in the ring is much to be feared.
The fight will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Acton on Sunday 04th March at 02:00
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