WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder was supposed to fight Luis Ortiz in early November, but the fight was scrapped when Ortiz failed a drug test for banned diuretics. Now, after the WBC has cleared Ortiz by accepting the explanation that he was on the drugs for high blood pressure, the fight looks to be back on.
ESPN reports that Wilder-Ortiz could take place on March 3 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, to air on Showtime. It would go head-to-head with the Kovalev-Mikhalkin show that isn’t just airing on HBO, but is taking place across town at Madison Square Garden.
Wilder (39-0, 38 KO) kept his November 4 date when Ortiz (28-0, 24 KO) was pulled, instead facing WBC mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne in a rematch. Wilder trucked Stiverne, brutally pounding him out in the first round, to retain his title.
Ortiz, meanwhile, jumped back into the ring as soon as he was able, fighting journeyman Daniel Martz on December 8 in Florida. He took care of Martz with a knockout 43 seconds into the second round, and Wilder, in attendance, hopped into the ring for a confrontation that indicated that their fight was likely back on.
There’s still plenty of intrigue in this matchup, as you’ve got a couple of big, hard-hitting heavyweights who always look to finish inside the distance, and that’s usually pretty easy to sell.