Showtime results: Deontay Wilder comes back to stop Luis Ortiz in the 10th
Seemingly needing the knockout in the late rounds, Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder prevailed by forcing a stoppage of Luis “King Kong” Ortiz in the 10th round to successfully defend his WBC heavyweight title a seventh time. The fight was the main event of a Showtime telecast Saturday night from the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York.
“King Kong ain’t got nothing on me,” Wilder proclaimed in the post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray. “A true champion always finds a way to come back and that’s what I did tonight. Luis Ortiz is definitely a crafty guy. We know he had the fundamental skills and it showed. He put up a great fight and we knew we had to wear him down. He was a great opponent.”
Wilder, 40-0 (39), took a while to get into the fight and it wasn’t until the fifth round when he showed some life, after Ortiz was able to outbox him through four. The Cuban southpaw had a measuring jab that not only found Wilder’s body often but, while moving to his left, helped win the positioning battle. Wilder was conservative with his power rights up the middle but, in the fifth, a shot to the forehead dropped Ortiz at the very end of the round. Wilder carried that momentum into the sixth but Ortiz never showed any signs of panic when a fight broke out.
“I showed everybody that I could take a punch,” Wilder said. “Every time he’d throw, he knocked me off-balance.”
Midway through the seventh, as Wilder opened up more, Ortiz caught him with short counters on the inside and had the defendign titlist reeling for the final minute. Draping his body all over the 241-pound Cuban, Wilder had to hold on just to remain on his feet, in some moments, but Ortiz was savvy enough to sneak in short shots and pepper him around the ring for the remainder of the seventh. Wilder didn’t go down but took enough shots to get checked by the doctor before round eight could start.
Ortiz, 28-1 (24), had the 14,069 in attendance on its feet in the eighth round, once the stench of upset filled the arena. Ortiz, who turns 39 on March 29, calmly stuck to what was working: moving left, throwing the jab and throwing the short shot, once Wilder loaded up on his punches. By the end of the round, Ortiz seemed to be back in control at his own pace but in not pressing the action more, he allowed Wilder to regain his legs through the ninth, then the main difference between Wilder and Ortiz was unveiled in the round’s final moment. After landing a clean right, Wilder thought he had Ortiz hurt and rushed into to deliver wild power shots. However the problem was, Ortiz wasn’t hurt and he clipped Wilder with a counter that was very close to becoming a grave mistake.
It wasn’t the first time Wilder would pounce on Ortiz so crazily and, in those instances, Wilder seemed uncontrolled but it was that kind of intensity that ultimately separated the two when one was hurt.
In the fateful 10th, Wilder landed two consecutive right hands that had Ortiz backing up and eventually crumbling to his knees on the canvas. Ortiz slowly got up and, after a quick exchange, a leg wobble gave Wilder the cue to go in for the kill again. This time, Wilder had Ortiz backing up and ducking down and a perfectly placed right uppercut folded him to the canvas for the last time as referee David Fields immediately waved the fight off at the 2:05 mark.
“Most definitely,” Wilder said when asked if this was his toughest fight. “Luis Ortiz was one of those fighters that everybody ducked. Even champions ducked him. I wondered why it took him so long to get a title shot and we know the reason why now.”
Wilder, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, wasn’t perfect in the win but has never claimed to be the perfect fighter, just one with a right hand that can erase all prior mistakes. In turn, the dramatic affair will end up being Wilder’s most memorable fight to date, adding great momentum for bigger things in the future. Anthony Joshua, the unified IBF/WBA heavyweight titleholder, will unify further with Joseph Parker, the WBO titlist, on March 31 (Showtime), and Wilder will be sitting ringside in Cardiff, Wales, to show he’s ready to crown an undisputed champion.
“I’m ready right now,” said Wilder. “My goal is to unify. I’m ready whenever those guys are. Soon there will be one champion, one face, one name and he goes by the name of Deontay Wilder.”
In the Showtime co-feature, Jose Uzcategui dominated Andre Dirrell for eight rounds, forcing him to remain in his corner for the ninth and earning a technical knockout victory in their rematch. The contest was scheduled for 12 rounds, for the interim IBF super middleweight title.
Determined to right a wrong from their first fight last May, Uzcategui, 27-2 (23), handed out a one-sided beating that had Dirrell arguing with his corner after the eighth. Dirrell, 26-3 (16), had Virgil Hunter working there for the first time and couldn’t establish a counter-attack that would slow down the forward-pressing combination puncher. The left to the body worked well for Uzcategui to start but a right hand couldn’t miss Dirrell’s head, throughout the entire fight. The Flint, Michigan, native couldn’t get away from the shot and it had the bridge of his nose and brows swelled up in the end. After an eighth round, in which Dirrell took a few home run swings, to no avail, the 34-year-old wasn’t sitting on his stool before the ninth, rather arguing with Hunter, who was standing at ringside. Once the round was about to begin, the fight was rightfully stopped.