After giving Deontay Wilder his toughest test to date, Luis Ortiz wanted to make sure his name would remain in the conversation for a heavyweight title shot as he decimated Razvan Conjanu with a second-round TKO Saturday night.
Conjanu spent the first round posturing and trying to make it a point that King Kong could not hurt him. But he did very little to make the Cuban respect his offense. Aware that his opponent was being more of a showman than a fighter, Ortiz went after the 6-8 Romanian in the second round and drilled him with a straight left hand after a right hook over the top. Try as he might, Conjanu could not get his legs under him and took the 10 count.
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"In my mind, King Kong has not been defeated. I don’t feel I lost against Deontay Wilder,” Ortiz (29-1, 25 Kos) said afterward.
Ortiz was stopped in the 10th round against Wilder during a fight in which he had the WBC champion out on his feet in the seventh round. It was an all-action affair that few would be upset about if they did it again.
Between Ortiz's knockout victory, Dillian Whyte’s win over Joseph Parker and the current state of affairs at the top of the division — Anthony Joshua is facing Alexander Povetkin in September, Wilder is looking for his next opponent and Tyson Fury is in the mix — the heavyweight division is shaping up nicely.
Ortiz would want another crack at Wilder, but he set his eyes on Joshua during his post-fight interview.
"I want to fight Joshua, but he only fights boxers he’s sure he can defeat," Ortiz said. "I’m going to ask the government to put me on disability, maybe that way Joshua will fight me."
It’s become common for every heavyweight to take a shot at Joshua. Jarrell Miller recently riled up the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion during DAZN’s launch event by talking about his mother.
Although he would like Wilder or Joshua, Ortiz is ready for whoever is available.
“Whatever comes next. I’m ready," he said. "I’ll keep on going. I won’t shy away from any challenge. I’m ready."
Ortiz’s second-round destruction of Conjanu brings about some intrigue considering Conjanu recently went 12 rounds with Joseph Parker in May of 2017. The ease with which Ortiz handled Conjanu keeps his options open. Perhaps a showdown with Whyte, who scored a unanimous decision victory over Parker on Saturday, could come to fruition.
The WBC has interest in pairing Ortiz with Wilder again despite Dominic Breazeale being the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s title.
"The mandatory between Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale is not due until the end of the year, so a rematch with Luis Ortiz would be acceptable to the World Boxing Council before then,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said to World Boxing News.
Wilder needs a fight to keep busy before he decides whether he’ll take up the offer to fight Joshua at Wembley Stadium in April. Many financial hurdles need to be cleared in order for that fight to take place.
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn told talkSPORT that if Wilder did not take the fight with Joshua, Whyte would fill the April 13th date against Joshua.
Fury also has thrown his hat into the ring for a shot at either Joshua or Wilder, although nobody can be sure how serious he is. The former heavyweight champion has a date with Francesco Pianeta slated for Aug. 18 as he continues his road back after a two-and-a-half-year absence from boxing due to personal issues.
One thing is for certain: The heavyweight division is as lively as it has been in years.