Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23KOs) is the mandatory challenger for the WBA Heavyweight belt. This means he will be facing either Anthony Joshua or Vladimir Klitschko, but does he represent a credible challenge to either of them?
Ortiz received much praise for his victory over Bryant Jennings and remains unbeaten with a high knockout percentage. Many pundits have claimed Ortiz is one of the best heavyweights and he claims to be an avoided fighter, however in his recent clashes against Malik Scott and Dave Allen some weaknesses have been exposed. Scott was terribly negative against Ortiz but Ortiz failed to close him down effectively and it turned into a frustrating night for the Cuban.
The Allen fight was also unimpressive from Ortiz, Dave Allen is a durable opponent but is severely lacking in fundamental skills and experience. Ortiz did get the knockout against Allen but compared to how Ortiz was dismantling previous opponents, this was not up to his usual standards. It is possible that Ortiz was not really ‘up for’ an opponent like Dave Allen, however it is also possible that Father Time is catching up with Luis Ortiz, who claims to be 37.
Depending on how Klitschko himself has aged since he last fought against Tyson Fury over a year ago, I would expect both fighters to beat Ortiz, Klitschko’s back-foot game and angular movement would be too much for Ortiz. Joshua is perhaps more vulnerable against an experienced hard-hitter like Ortiz. AJ’s chin remains untested by serious opposition, and with his tendency to back-up in straight lines he could be caught by Ortiz. These are problems that would likely be exposed in a fight against Klitschko however, so it would be a big ask for Ortiz to beat either of these fighters.
Ortiz has been calling for a fight against WBC Champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 within the distance) is also an incredibly tough fight for Ortiz. Wilder is an Olympic medalist with a rangey style and a huge right-hand, yet Wilder has show defensive vulnerabilities and has tendency to injury. If Ortiz came to the ring and produced the same level performance as he did against Bryant Jennings, then he stands a seriously good chance of beating Deontay Wilder.by