Joshua vs. Ortiz Likely for 2017
Boxing’s heavyweight division had for a long time been stagnant, a far cry from the eras of Liston and Ali, Frazier and Foreman, Tyson and Holyfield. But the events of the past year have breathed new life into the division, as Tyson Fury defeated long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko and then this year vacated the belts due to his mental health issues. This turn of events opened the door for other heavyweights to reach for greatness, fighters like Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker, Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz.
Anthony Joshua fights on Dec. 10 in an easy defense of his IBF title, but early next year he will fight Klitschko for the IBF and WBA championships. The most meaningful bout that can be made in boxing, Joshua vs. Klitschko is a matchup between the young champion and the aging former king. If Joshua can beat Klitschko, it will cement this new era of heavyweight boxing.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn already has his eye on what could be the next fight for the IBF champ. If Joshua beats Klitschko, Luis "King Kong" Ortiz could be ordered as his mandatory challenger before the end of 2017.
Ortiz is also a member of Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing stable, so he is already beginning to plan the potential matchup between his two top heavyweights.
"That is one of the reasons we decided to work with him," Hearn said of Ortiz, per SkySports. "He’s one of the top heavyweights in the world and one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world. Joshua is going to want to meet all these guys and Luis Ortiz is no exception."
Ortiz will fight on Dec. 10 as well, competing on the undercard of Joshua’s title defense against Eric Molina. Ortiz’s opponent has yet to be announced.
Hearn spoke about Ortiz’s high ranking with the WBA, which could give him the role of mandatory challenger to whoever wins the Joshua vs. Klitschko matchup.
"He is ranked No. 1 by the WBA and it’s likely that he will become the mandatory challenger after Joshua-Klitschko and he’s now highly-ranked by the IBF as well. I’ve spoken to AJ about it and he wants to fight all the top guys, and he considers Ortiz to be one of the very top guys in the division. We are talking about potentially 10 to 12 months down the line.
"We are trying to build Anthony Joshua in America and we are looking to build Ortiz in America, Europe and all over the world."