Heavyweight contenders Luis Ortiz (23-0, 20 KO) and Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KO) are officially set and ready to go for a December 19 meeting on HBO, with Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, playing host to the Boxing After Dark main event.
Ortiz, 36, is coming off of an easy win against overmatched Matias Ariel Vidondo last Saturday night on the Golovkin-Lemieux pay-per-view, while Jennings, 31, hasn't fought since his loss on April 25 to world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko at Madison Square Garden, a fight where Jennings was as competitive as anyone has been against Klitschko in several years, which is to say he acquitted himself nicely in a clear 12-round decision defeat.
The fighters, both of whom hope a win nets a world title opportunity, met up today in Los Angeles along with their promoters to discuss the big fight.
"To headline an HBO event and fighting a former world title contender like Jennings is what I have been preparing my whole career for. I know that after this fight people will know that I deserve a shot at becoming the ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World.' I think Jennings doesn't even know what he's stepping in to on the 19, I'm coming to make a statement. This fight is going to be an exciting stepping stone to achieve my dream."
"I'm excited to be getting back in the ring against Luis Ortiz, another big heavyweight. He's coming off an impressive win and he thinks he's at the top of his game. These are the typical type of opponents I like to showcase my skills against. I've come a long way since my last fight against Klitschko, and I have continued to train with a fierce intensity. When you suffer defeat for the first time you learn things about yourself you never knew. I've improved a great deal on all aspects of my game both mentally and physically. The world will see a great fight when I square off against Ortiz, that I can guarantee you. I'll be driving the WBA belt back home to Philly."
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Golden Boy Promotions
"With a mix of speed, power and amateur pedigree that is second-to-none, Luis Ortiz has quickly established himself as a force in the heavyweight division. Luis is so hungry to continue his rise in the division that he has agreed to fight an enormously talented opponent in Bryant Jennings just two months after Luis' destruction of Matias Vidondo to win the WBA Interim title. Boxing fans looking for a premiere heavyweight fight should make sure to tune in to HBO's Boxing After Dark on December 19th."
GARY SHAW, Gary Shaw Productions
"It's my pleasure to bring another great heavyweight showdown to the boxing fans with Bryant Jennings taking on an undefeated fighter like Luis Ortiz. The fans know that I have always, and will continue, to put on real competitive fights."
"Jennings is a true professional who remains in phenomenal shape throughout the year. He showed in his last fight versus Klitschko that he belongs with the elite heavyweights and understands the challenges that lie ahead. Ortiz, who brings a high knockout ratio to the ring, will have his hands full, and Jennings is nothing like the fighter he just fought, whom he knocked out in the third round. Ortiz has never faced a challenge of a Philadelphia fighter like Bryant Jennings and he's going to find out real quick that this is another level. Jennings is ready to continue his quest to become heavyweight champion with VADA testing agreed to by both promotional companies for this fight."
PETER NELSON, HBO Sports
"This fight is between two evenly matched heavyweights, and that always has a purity to its mystique. Jennings has proven to have heart in equal scale to what Ortiz has shown in power. On December 19, we will see a battle of wills."
RAY HALBRITTER, Oneida Nation
"We're looking forward to hosting another exciting night of boxing at Turning Stone with HBO, Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions. In three years, we've hosted 16 nationally-televised fights, distinguishing our resort as premier destination for world-class boxing."