Deontay Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title on Saturday with a seventh round knock-out of challenger Luis Ortiz.
In a repeat of their 2018 fight, the Alabama fighter soaked up pressure from his older opponent before sending him to the canvas with a straight right hand to the forehead.
Ortiz was on his feet before the end of the count but was still shaky and the referee called an end to proceedings.
The decision was a tough one for the 40 – year old Cuban, who had made all the running in the early ****
It takes Wilder’s record to 42 – 0-1 and sets him up for a February, 2020 date with Tyson Fury, the undefeated British boxer he drew with in Los Angeles almost a year ago.
“After that I am looking for a unification bout, “Wilder said. “I want one champion, one face, one name and he goes by the name Deontay Wilder.”
That’s all from us after an incredible night of boxing!
Ortiz: “This is boxing, I told everybody that it was going to be him or me and that it wasn’t going to go 12 rounds.
“I was clear-headed. When he said seven I was trying to get up but the count was maybe quicker than I thought.
“I’m ready for whatever comes about.”
Wilder: “With Ortiz, you can see why no heavyweight wants to fight him, he’s very crafty , he moves strategically and he moves craftily.
“I had to measure him in certain places. Some people say I can’t fight on my back feet but that’s my specialty. I had to go back and forward, my intellect is very good in the ring.
“I finally found my measurement, I saw the shot and I took it. He’s one of the best in the world, you’ve got to give him that.
“Next is Tyson Fury, that is settled for February and then I want a unification fight. ”
WOW. Ortiz was cruising in there until Wilder landed that right hand and the Cuban just couldn’t get up in time. He had won everything up until that point.
This time 18 months ago Wilder was almost stopped by Ortiz and in the rematch he’s well behind … Ortiz lands a left, and another! Wilder starts to swing wildly and misses as a consequence. The champion finally lands a right hand but Ortiz takes it well. The American is looking for one big shot but each one is telegraphed. Wilder lands to the body but Ortiz responds with a flurry the champion just did not see coming. ORTIZ IS DOWN! WILDER WINS BY KO!
Ortiz surely five rounds up but Wilder has that great equaliser of a right hand, if he can detonate it. The first minute of this round suggests not as Ortiz continues to out work the champion and lands successive right hands while Wilder comes within inches of connecting. Another round for the Cuban and we’re at the halfway stage.
It was around now that Wilder got going in the first fight, can he find his rhythm against Ortiz? Not yet as the Cuban lands that familiar left hand. The crowd are in his corner anyway as he continues to stalk Wilder around the ring. The champion swings, but misses, and again. Another slow round from Wilder as he waits and waits and then never delivers. He does begin to throw his right in the final 20 seconds but he’ll need more than that as Ortiz lands on the bell with his lead right.
So far, so similar to the first fight as Wilder gives Ortiz an early lead on the cards. Ortiz pins the champion in the corner but can’t land clean but then slips a right hand and connects with a left of his own. Wilder thumps his chest but he’d be better off trying to throw a shot. Wilder just cannot judge his distance in there and he seems utterly befuddled by Ortiz.
Ortiz lands another left hand early as his southpaw stance causes the champion problems. Wilder really not throwing anything of note, as if he’s waiting for something, although I’m not sure what. Finally a right hand lands in the final 20 seconds but it’s still the challenger’s round for me.
Ortiz backs Wilder up again with his right hand but Wilder manages to land his own right hand for the first time. Wilder lands a jab as Ortiz bides his time before landing a left and unleashing briefly. Intriguing so far.
Ortiz looks to land early but can’t quite get into position to throw his left hand from his southpaw stance. Both men paw with their jabs, and it’s Ortiz who lands his and this time does connect with his follow-up left. Another left lands from Ortiz and it’s a good start for the Cuban.
And here comes the champion, Deontay Wilder.
Luis Ortiz is walking to the ring …
And now it’s time for the main event of the evening.
Leo Santa Cruz is the new WBA super-featherweight world champion as the judges give him the nod by scores of 115 – 112, 117 – 110.
And it’s all over!
We go to the judges and Santa Cruz will win by a large margin.
Just one more to go.
Mike Tyson is in the house.
Three rounds to go.
Make it stop.
Leo Santa Snooze.
Every round is just a repeat of the one before now as Santa Cruz picks off Flores but without enough power to put
Early pressure from Santa Cruz as he looks to make something of a stat ement on his super-featherweight debut. Flores is being suffocated in there as Santa Cruz pins him against the ropes.
Santa Cruz counters well before Flores finally manages to land. After the excitement of the previous fight, this is something of a slow-burner.
Santa Cruz continuing to impose himself on Flores as he switches well from head to bod and back again. Flores meanwhile is struggling to make any sort of impact now.
Santa Cruz finds a home for his right hand early in the round and then hunts Flores down as he looks to increase the pressure. Santa Cruz lands again as Flores is forced to back-pedal.
Flores giving a better showing in the opening stages than his 40 / 1 price suggested as both men look to land to the body, but it’s Santa Cruz who edges this one.
Santa Cruz’s long levers give him the edge in the opener as he controls the tempo of the first round. He’s going for a world title in a fourth weight division.
No hanging around, both men are in the ring.
This should be the last fight before Wilder and Ortiz walk to the ring.