WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder successfully retained his title for the 10th time on Saturday night, knocking Luis Ortiz out with one shot in the seventh round. Ortiz was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards at the time the fight was stopped. The fight headlined a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.
Wilder now has two knockout victories over Ortiz, as Wilder stopped the Cuban heavyweight in the 10th round of their first fight last year in Brooklyn.
The rematch started similarly to the first fight, as Ortiz seemed to be getting the better of Wilder early on. In fact, many observers saw Ortiz winning the first four rounds.
Ortiz continued to build his lead in the fifth and sixth rounds, with a hesitant Wilder looking for one punch. Wilder eventually found that punch in the seventh round, dropping Ortiz with a thunderous straight right hand.
Ortiz made it to his feet but was unable to beat the referee’s ten count, again falling just short of becoming the first Cuban heavyweight champion of the world.
Now, Wilder looks forward to a highly-anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury in February of 2020. Both Wilder and Fury fought to a draw in their first fight in December of last year.
In the co-main event, Leo Santa Cruz captured his fourth world title in his fourth weight class by outpointing Miguel Flores via unanimous decision to earn the vacant WBA world super featherweight title. The official scores read: 117-110 (X2) and 115-112.
Santa Cruz was the aggressor in the early going, backing Flores up and forcing him to give ground. He was also more accurate with his punches, not throwing quite as many shots as some might expect. However, he was still doing considerably more than Flores, who was content to survive the full 12 rounds.
During the middle rounds, Santa Cruz began to further separate himself from Flores, landing clean punches with increasingly greater frequency. Although, Flores would land a clean shot here and there, they were few and far between.
To further add to Flores’ deficit on the scorecards, referee Tony Weeks deducted a point from Flores for holding in the eighth round.
While Santa Cruz remained in control going into the later rounds, he was cut by an accidental headbutt in the 10th. Despite the cut visibly distracting him, Santa Cruz was able to cruise through the championship rounds to win a unanimous decision.
With the win over Flores, Santa Cruz now joins a list of Mexican champions who have won world titles in four different weight classes. That list includes Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Jorge Arce and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.