In March 2018, Luis Ortiz, nicknamed “King Kong”, was granted his first world title opportunity when he came up against WBC Champion Deontay Wilder. Ortiz posed a real threat to the champion throughout the fight and was arguably close to stopping Wilder in seventh. A rematch, though far from inevitable, was certainly something fans would look forward to seeing.
Fast forward twenty months and the Bronze Bomber found himself toe-to-toe with King Kong yet again. Many boxing commentators commended Wilder for granting Ortiz the opportunity of a rematch, given the danger he posed him in their first fight. Having another encounter with the hard-hitting Cuban was deemed all the riskier considering the Bronze Bomber is set to have a rematch in February 2020 with the Gypsy King himself, Tyson Fury. A loss for Wilder would mean he would miss out on the mega-fight, and a mega payday, with the charismatic Englishman, but even a bad cut could cause trouble for the anticipated rematch with Fury.
Despite the risks, Wilder agreed to fight Ortiz, now aged forty, a second time. On 23 November 2019 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the two went to war.
Ortiz began the fight as the aggressor, managing to back Wilder up to the ropes in the second round. Wilder did not seem too phased by this, however, as he looked to counter the aggressive Cuban. This theme continued into the third and fourth rounds, with Ortiz pushing Wilder back with a stiff jab to the body in the third before again backing Wilder up to the ropes in the fourth. Things began to look more uncomfortable for Wilder as the fight went on given that it was clear Ortiz was winning on the cards, backing up the American in the early rounds and unleashing his left hand in particular. The Bronze Bomber shook his head and beat his chest in the fourth, showing no signs of losing patience despite struggling to find his radar with that famous right hand.
By round six, Wilder had it all left to do, and was behind on all of the judges’ scorecards. Ortiz did not seem to be too scared of the power that Wilder undoubtedly possesses, and the American was hesitant to let his right hand go. Was Wilder heading towards his first professional defeat, or was he just remaining patient and waiting for Ortiz to make a mistake?
Round seven answered all of the questions. With his first meaningful punch, Wilder knocked out Luis Ortiz, sending him tumbling to the canvas and unable to make the count. Despite not letting his hands go, Wilder remained confident and took full advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself. He had lost every second of the fight until that point, but the end came when Wilder distracted Ortiz with a light jab, before unleashing a vicious right hand to snap Ortiz's head back and send him to the canvas. Indeed, it became clear that Wilder had been setting up traps throughout the fight, landing his right hand after catching Ortiz slipping.
The forever-confident Wilder frequently boasts "my opponent has to be perfect for 12 rounds, and I only have to be perfect for one second". This fight certainly proved such words to be true. With Saturday’s victory, Wilder equalled Muhammad Ali’s record of ten straight title defences.
After the devasting KO win, the WBC champion confirmed that he wants the Tyson Fury fight next, before facing the winner of Ruiz v Joshua II to become the undisputed champion.
Who do you think wins between Fury and Wilder? Let us know in the comments below!