VERONA, NY — Luis Ortiz staked his claim as a force in the heavyweight division tonight with a seventh KO over former title challenger Bryant Jennings at the Turning Stone Casino.
Ortiz, who later revealed he had been suffering from the flu the last two weeks, drew first blood by wobbling Jennings with a counter right hook. Jennings nearly went down, but survived and come back strong in the second by going inside and working short uppercuts and body shots.
But throughout the contest, Ortiz showed his momentum altering power. Jennings found himself staggered in the third by a counter left hand. Again, Jennings managed to withstand the assault and come back strong the following round by making the fight a mauling, inside contest.
Ortiz adjusted in the fifth by dancing on his toes and shooting jabs off the backfoot. The strategy made Jennings hesitant to rush inside as now Ortiz had the range needed to land counter shots. When Ortiz did come off his toes, he began measuring Jennings, who was now coming in with his head down, for a left uppercut.
The perfect opportunity finally came in the seventh. Ortiz whipped home a crafty left uppercut out of a clinch that put Jennings face down on the canvas. He beat the count, but was quickly dispatched with a right hook that forced him to the ropes, and a flush straight left for good measure.
“Today is a new era in the heavyweight division,” Ortiz declared. “Jennings is a fighter who deserves much respect, but he can tell you I’m a force in the heavyweight division. I am going to obtain my objective. I have been training for a big fight of this magnitude for three years. My strategy was to keep him at a distance and I was able to do that effectively with my reach and my jab.
I will fight whoever next — whoever Golden Boy Promotions gives me I will take. Wilder, Fury, Klitschko — any one of them, I’m ready to prove I am the heavyweight world champion. A lot of people say a lot of things about me, but the testing showed I am a clean fighter.”
The win was for the interim WBA title, making Ortiz a potential challenger to unified champion Tyson Fury.
WALTERS AND SOSA BATTLE TO UNJUST DRAW: On the undercard, Nicholas Walters seemingly dominated Jason Sosa to a near shutout by relying on a vicious body assault. The judges saw it differently, scoring the 10-round contest 96-94 Sosa, and 95-95 twice for the majority draw.
“I am in total shock. I was never in any danger, never hurt,” fumed Walters. “[Sosa] is a good fighter — the kind of fight I wanted — but I thought I won all the rounds. So surprised this happened to me.”
Not surprisingly, Sosa feels different.
“I thought I won and am disappointed it was a draw,” Sosa said. “I worked hard, I really thought I won the fight.”
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) December 20, 2015