On Saturday, March 4, 2018, Brooklyn received the Heavyweight showdown it anticipated and then some.
What started out as a calculated affair in the early rounds at Barclays Center turned into a back-and-forth ordeal between Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) and worth challenger, Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs).
The tide swung both ways with both fighters sharing big moments throughout the night. In the end, the “Bronze Bomber” tamed “King Kong” in the 10th round and ended his hope of becoming Heavyweight champion.
Both fighters began the fight feeling each other out and Ortiz seemed to be stealing the rounds with just pressure and cleaner shots.
In the fifth, Wilder found his mark and dropped Ortiz. Ortiz rose to his feet and was saved by the bell from taking any serious damage. Wilder pressed the action in the following round before the momentum quickly took a turn in the seventh.
Ortiz landed what could be the most amount of damage Wilder has suffered in his career. Blow after blow, it seemed it was only a matter of time before Wilder would go down or get stopped.
With absolute grit, Wilder pressed on in the fight and continued to take hard shots. If the drama hadn’t reached a crescendo before, it certainly peaked in the 10th when Wilder floored Ortiz twice, before securing the incredible victory.
“A true champion always finds a way to come back and that’s what I did tonight,” said Wilder in his post-fight interview. “Luis Ortiz is definitely a crafty guy. He put up a great fight. We knew we had to wear him down. I showed everyone I can take a punch.”
The pro-Wilder crowd rejoiced with their champion as he lifted his WBC title screaming his trademark slogan, “Bomb Squad!”
With the win, Wilder all but secures an inevitable showdown with unified champion Anthony Joshua. “I’m ready right now. I always said that I want to unify. I’m ready whenever those guys are. I am the baddest man on the planet and I proved that tonight.”
As for King Kong, unfortunately, this is most likely his last true shot at a title.
“In this sport, any punch can end a fight,” said Ortiz. Regardless of the outcome tonight, both men left it all out in the ring and gave the Brooklyn fans their money’s worth.
All photos by Amanda Westcott/Showtime