Fighting

Ortiz has sites set on Wilder’s belt

Firmly entrenched as a top-tier heavyweight contender, Miami resident Luis Ortiz seemingly had his championship opportunities targeted at one specific opponent in a division featuring multiple titleholders.
Firmly entrenched as a top-tier heavyweight contender, Miami resident Luis Ortiz seemingly had his championship opportunities targeted at one specific opponent in a division featuring multiple titleholders. EL NUEVO HERALD

Firmly entrenched as a top-tier heavyweight contender, Miami resident Luis Ortiz seemingly had his championship opportunities targeted at one specific opponent in a division featuring multiple titleholders.

When he was co-promoted by England-based Matchroom Boxing, Ortiz appeared positioned as a possible challenger for Anthony Joshua, who will defend his International Boxing Federation title against former champion Wladimir Klitschko on April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London. A match against Joshua seemed a natural, considering that Joshua also fights under the Matchroom Boxing promotional banner.

But Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) now might find his title options elsewhere.

During the official announcement of his next fight against Derric Rossy on April 22 in Brooklyn, New York, Ortiz brought up Deontay Wilder, the current World Boxing Council champion, as a possible opponent.

“I would love to fight Deontay Wilder,” Ortiz said. “We’re both big, tough fighters.

“These are the kind of fights people want to see. I know that my time will come.”

Ortiz recently joined the Premier Boxing Champions stable of fighters overseen by influential manager Al Haymon. Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) is PBC’s signature heavyweight.

A native of Cuba, Ortiz moved to the top of the heavyweight rankings under former promoter Golden Boy Promotions until he left the Oscar De La Hoya-led company in early 2016.

Ortiz, 38, fought twice in Europe under Matchroom Boxing late last year, scoring a knockout victory over David Allen and winning a lopsided decision against Malik Scott.

“My plan is to become the heavyweight champion of the world,” Ortiz said. “I feel like I’m with the right team now that will open those doors for me.”

The Ortiz-Rossi bout is part of a card that will feature Miami native Andre Berto in the main event. Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) will face Shawn Porter (26-2, 16 KOs) in a bout between former welterweight champions.

AROUND THE RING

▪ Unable to secure the rematch against the fighter who pinned the lone loss in his professional career, Vasyl Lomachenko opted for another highly regarded opponent in the 130-pound class.

Lomachenko will defend his World Boxing Organization junior-lightweight title against Jason Sosa on Saturday night in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Although Lomachenko has fought only eight times as a professional, the native of Ukraine built an exemplary amateur career, highlighted by gold medal-winning performances in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Thanks to his amateur pedigree, Lomachenko fought for a world title in his second professional bout but lost a decision against Orlando Salido.

After the loss to Salido and, in a short span, Lomacheko (7-1, 5 KOs) won featherweight and junior-lightweight titles. He will make the second defense of his junior-lightweight belt against Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs).

The inability to land the second bout with Salido upset Lomachenko, but he anticipates a similarly qualified opponent in Sosa.

“I was a little disappointed because as far as I knew everything was moving along and everything was agreed to, then all of the sudden they turned around and said [Salido] wasn’t going to fight,” Lomachenko said.

“But you know, such is life.”

▪ Miami resident and WBA super-bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux might face Moises Flores after all.

According to a statement released by the WBA, both fighters appear to have reached a deal for a fight.

Flores is the WBA’s mandatory 122-pound challenger to Rigondeaux’s title.

Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) and Flores (25-0, 17 KOs) were scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-James Kirkland fight Feb. 25 before Kirkland sustained an injury that canceled the entire card.

Coming up

Tuesday (9 p.m., Fox Sports1): Edner Cherry vs. Omar Douglas, 10, junior lightweights. 

Saturday (10 p.m., HBO): Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jason Sosa, 12, for Lomachenko’s WBO junior-lightweight title.

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