Two heavyweight titans will close out the 2015 boxing year with a bang on December 19, as former world title contender Bryant “By-By” Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) takes on recently crowned WBA Interim Heavyweight belt holder Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) in a 12-round championship fight. The event will take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino, in Verona, New York and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark.
“To headline an HBO event and fighting a former world title contender like Jennings is what I have been preparing my whole career for,” said Luis Ortiz. “I know that after this fight people will know that I deserve a shot at becoming the ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World.’ I think Jennings doesn’t even know what he’s stepping in to on the 19, I’m coming to make a statement. This fight is going to be an exciting stepping stone to achieve my dream.”
“With a mix of speed, power and amateur pedigree that is second-to-none, Luis Ortiz has quickly established himself as a force in the heavyweight division,” said Oscar De La Hoya, President and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Luis is so hungry to continue his rise in the division that he has agreed to fight an enormously talented opponent in Bryant Jennings just two months after Luis’ destruction of Matias Vidondo to win the WBA Interim title. Boxing fans looking for a premiere heavyweight fight should make sure to tune in to HBO’s Boxing After Dark on December 19th.”
“It’s my pleasure to bring another great heavyweight showdown to the boxing fans with Bryant Jennings taking on an undefeated fighter like Luis Ortiz. The fans know that I have always, and will continue, to put on real competitive fights,” said Gary Shaw.
Shaw continued, “Jennings is a true professional who remains in phenomenal shape throughout the year. He showed in his last fight versus Klitschko that he belongs with the elite heavyweights and understands the challenges that lie ahead. Ortiz, who brings a high knockout ratio to the ring, will have his hands full, and Jennings is nothing like the fighter he just fought, whom he knocked out in the third round. Ortiz has never faced a challenge of a Philadelphia fighter like Bryant Jennings and he’s going to find out real quick that this is another level. Jennings is ready to continue his quest to become heavyweight champion with VADA testing agreed to by both promotional companies for this fight.”
“I’m excited to be getting back in the ring against Luis Ortiz, another big heavyweight,” said Bryant Jennings. “He’s coming off an impressive win and he thinks he’s at the top of his game. These are the typical type of opponents I like to showcase my skills against. I’ve come a long way since my last fight against Klitschko, and I have continued to train with a fierce intensity. When you suffer defeat for the first time you learn things about yourself you never knew. I’ve improved a great deal on all aspects of my game both mentally and physically. The world will see a great fight when I square off against Ortiz, that I can guarantee you. I’ll be driving the WBA belt back home to Philly.”
“This fight is between two evenly matched heavyweights, and that always has a purity to its mystique,” said Peter Nelson, vice president of programming for HBO Sports. “Jennings has proven to have heart in equal scale to what Ortiz has shown in power. On December 19, we will see a battle of wills.”
“We’re looking forward to hosting another exciting night of boxing at Turning Stone with HBO, Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO. “In three years, we’ve hosted 16 nationally-televised fights, distinguishing our resort as premier destination for world-class boxing.”
Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz had amassed nearly 350 wins before making his way to the United States to chase championship gold as a professional. Unbeaten in 25 bouts, the 36-year-old southpaw holds a knockout win over Monte Barrett and in June needed less than a round to dispatch Byron Polley. Ortiz was last seen on the undercard of Golovkin vs. Lemieux as part of the pay-per-view live telecast defeating Matias Ariel Vivdondo by third round knockout and gaining the WBA Interim Heavyweight World Title.
Hailed as one of the best heavyweight boxers in the sport, Bryant Jennings has faced some of the most feared fighters in the sport. In 2014 alone, Jennings defeated Mike Perez via split decision in July and Artur Szpilka via technical knockout in January. In 2013, Jennings passed his first career tested when he defeated Andrey Fedosov via sixth-round knockout in June. Most recently, Jennings was seen in the ring against the heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in April, suffering his first defeat since his professional debut in 2010. Now, the titan is looking for redemption and another shot at world title stardom when he faces Ortiz for the WBA Interim Heavyweight Title.
Jennings vs. Ortiz is a 12-round heavyweight bout fight for the WBA Interim Heavyweight Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Gary Shaw Productions. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast begins live at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.