WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) is now officially set to defend his title against Luis Ortiz (27-0-2 NCs, 23 KOs), who is unquestionably a major step up in quality compared to Wilder’s recent opponents, if not the best opponent to date for the American knockout artist. Wilder vs. Ortiz will take place at Barclays Center on November 4th — I know, same day as UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden — as part of an expected Showtime tripleheader.
Wilder hasn’t fought since February, when he stopped late-notice replacement Gerald Washington in the fifth round. His rather interesting finishing sequence also produced one of the most hilarious combat sports GIFs of the year.
Anthony Joshua gotta get past these for that WBC title.— Gary William® (@_GaryWilliam_) May 1, 2017
In all seriousness, Wilder has successfully defended his belt five times, including this brutal KO of Artur Szpilka last year. Wilder won the title from Bermane Stiverne, who’s the only man to go the distance with him, instead losing by lopsided decision. Stiverne was Wilder’s mandatory challenger, but he’s agreed to step aside and take on Dominic Breazeale on the undercard. There’s also no real reason to see Wilder vs. Stiverne II.
The 38-year-old Ortiz holds notable stoppage victories over Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson, but hasn’t fought since last December, when he stopped David Allen in the seventh round of a scheduled eight. His last twelve-rounder was against Malik Scott, who went the distance in a fight that can best be described as “having happened.” Ortiz is a southpaw who’s a consensus top-5 fighter in the division, and this will be his first crack at a major championship title.
Wilder vs. Ortiz will take place precisely one week after Anthony Joshua fights Kubrat Pulev, and there’s expectation that we could see Joshua fight Wilder at some point in 2018. Both men have to at least get past their respective (and quite formidable) opponents before we can really entertain that matchup becoming reality.