Luis Ortiz, the heavy-handed Cuban heavyweight, made the most out of his final fight of the year. Ortiz (24-0, 21KOs) stopped Bryant Jennings in the 7th round of their scheduled 12 rounder during their December 19th main event on HBO Boxing After Dark with his interim belt on the line. With that win, Ortiz solidified himself as a legitimate threat in the heavyweight division, a weight class that is becoming more and more marketable and interesting with every passing month.
Ortiz’s stock is at an all-time high and talks began to circulate of him being matched with the winner of the rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko. However, a big time marquee matchup is still down the road, but that doesn’t mean Golden Boy Promotions (Ortiz’s promoter) is without a game plan. In fact, they have Ortiz’s next few moves planned out.
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Golden Boy is planning a stay-busy fight for Ortiz before making a mandatory defense against Russia’s Alexander Ustinov (33-1, 24KOs). The defense has been mandated to take place on or before June 19th, but Golden Boy and Frank Warren (Ustinov’s promoter) must reach a deal or face the fight going to purse bid with a split of 50/50.
There is no word on who the possible opponent could be for Ortiz’s interim bout, but Golden Boy is planning several shows on the West Coast for February and March, which is a likely time frame as any considering the June 19th date for the Ustinov fight.