WBA Pulls Ortiz As Manadatory Challenger
Luis Ortiz, the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s WBA title belt, had his status revoked and was suspended on Thursday by the sanctioning organization.
WBA released a statement on Thursday claiming that…
“Ortiz’ status and recognition as mandatory contender is revoked. Ortiz is removed from the WBA ratings and suspended from participation in any WBA sanctioned bouts for one year (until Sept. 22, 2018),” the WBA wrote in its resolution, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN. “After March 22, 2018, Ortiz may request his suspension be lifted, which may only be granted in the sole discretion of the WBA.”
Per ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the ruling does not prevent Ortiz from fighting other bouts or for other organizations.
Ortiz was scheduled to challenge Deontay Wilder for his WBC heavyweight title, but due to testing positive for chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide — two banned diuretics known to be masking agents for performance-enhancing drugs, he would be taken out of the fight.
Ortiz would never deny taking the two substances, but claims that they were prescribed for Ortiz’ high blood pressure Yet, when Ortiz filled out his VADA testing paperwork, the Cuban born fight would not indicate he was taking the medication, despite the questionnaire asking specifically about any he might be on. Ortiz also had not asked for a therapeutic use exemption.
WBA would also note in Thursday’s resolution that…
“Despite multiple opportunities to do so, Mr. Ortiz never declared that he was using a banned substance, nor sought a TUE prior to the test.”
“For the suspension to be lifted, Ortiz must continue to fully participate in the VADA Clean Boxing Program at his expense, shall not otherwise test positive for any prohibited substance or refuse to be randomly tested, and must undergo an independent medical evaluation to determine whether he is medically fit to fight,” the WBA ordered in its ruling.
The WBA’s decision was based in part on the fact that this is the second time Ortiz failed a drug test. The first time in September 2014, when Ortiz fought for the WBA’s vacant interim heavyweight belt. Ortiz would win with a devastating first-round knockout of Lateef Kayode in Las Vegas to win the interim belt, but the pre-fight urine sample he provided to the Nevada State Athletic Commission was positive for the banned anabolic steroid Nandrolone in the post-fight drug screen.
The belt was taken away from Ortiz, the result of the fight was changed to a no decision, and Ortiz was fined and suspended for eight months by the Nevada commission.