WILDER DEFENDS TITLE IN REMATCH VS ORTIZ
WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend his title in a rematch against highly-ranked contender Luis Ortiz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday night.
Both Wilder and Ortiz first met in the ring in March of 2018. While Ortiz had Wilder badly hurt in the seventh round of that fight, Wilder recovered and scored two knockdowns before finally stopping Ortiz in the 10th round.
Now, Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO) appears to be heading toward a highly anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury in February of 2020. But in order to secure another big payday against Fury, Wilder would have to get past Ortiz again on Saturday.
In their first meeting in December of 2018, Wilder and Fury fought to a draw after 12 competitive rounds. While Fury seemed to be outboxing Wilder for long stretches of time, Wilder’s power proved to be the great equalizer, as he scored two knockdowns that saved him from taking his first professional loss.
Wilder then defended his title against Dominic Breazeale in May of this year, earning a knockout in the first round. The devastating knockout of Breazeale added even more anticipation to Wilder-Fury II, as Wilder will be headlining his second pay-per-view card on Saturday night.
Since his loss to Wilder, Ortiz (31-1, 26 KO) has won three fights in a row, two of those coming by knockout. The most recent win for Ortiz was a lopsided 10-round decision victory over Christian Hammer in March, on the undercard Erislandy Lara’s bout with Brian Castano.
In the co-headliner, three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz will attempt to conquer his fourth weight class when he takes on Miguel Flores for the vacant WBA super featherweight title.
After regaining the WBA featherweight championship from Carl Frampton in 2017, Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KO) went on to defend that title three times. The most recent of those title defenses came in February of this year, when he outpointed Rafael Rivera over 12 rounds.
Flores (24-2, 12 KO) is coming off of a sixth round TKO of Luis May, on the undercard of Jermall Charlo’s title defense against Brandon Adams in June. The fight against Santa Cruz will be Flores’ first crack at a championship belt.
Also on the card is WBA super bantamweight world champion Brandon Figueroa defending his title against Julio Ceja.
Figueroa (20-0, 15 KO) won the interim WBA title when he stopped Yonfrez Parejo after eight rounds in April. In his most recent outing, Figueroa defended the interim belt by knocking out Javier Nicolas Chacon inside four rounds back in August.
Most boxing fans might remember Julio Ceja most for his spirited effort against Guillermo Rigondeaux in June. While he was stopped in the eighth round of that fight, he fought a competitive fight with the slick Cuban up until that point. Despite not fighting since then, Ceja will still get a world title opportunity on Saturday.
These fights and the rest of the card will be televised via Fox Sports Pay-Per-View.