WBA strips Luis Ortiz of mandatory status
By Jeff Aranow: In a not surprising move, on Thursday, the World Boxing Association has stripped unbeaten heavyweight Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) of his mandatory status for WBA champion Anthony Joshua due to a recent positive drug test. Ortiz loses his spot in the WBA’s rankings for 1 year, according to ESPN.
During the drug screening on September 22 by VADA, Ortiz tested positive for the banned diuretics chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide. Ortiz stated that he was taking the drugs as part of his treatment of high blood pressure. However, Ortiz failed to alert VADA that he was taking the drugs.
For the 38-year-old Ortiz, this was the second time he’s tested positive for banned drugs in the last 3 years of his boxing career.
Being removed from the mandatory spot for a shot at WBA champion Joshua is going to really hurt Ortiz, as he would have made quite a bit of money with that title shot.
“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’s statement via ESPN.com. “After March 22, 2018, Ortiz may request his suspension be lifted, which may only be granted in the sole discretion of the WBA.”
This is not good news for the Cuban star Ortiz, because he’s going to be 39-years-old on March 29, and he can’t afford to wait around too much longer for him to get a title shot. It would still work out well for Ortiz in terms of getting a huge payday against Joshua if he can get a title shot in a year from now, but it won’t be good if it takes Ortiz 2 to 3 years for him to get a crack at a title.
There’s also the possibility that Joshua could get beaten in 2018 by Wilder. If that happens, then the big time money that Ortiz would have gotten in facing Joshua would be off the table. Fighting Wilder isn’t the same as fighting Joshua when it comes to the money that Ortiz could get.
The southpaw Ortiz isn’t losing ranking with the other sanctioning bodies, just the WBA. So, in theory, Ortiz could face Wilder and beat him, and then use his WBC title as bait to get a unification fight against Joshua. Unfortunately that’s not going to work either, as Wilder is expected to face Joshua in 2018. The result of that fight could see Wilder as the unified champion. If Joshua wins the WBC title, then Ortiz would be in a great position to rank a title shot against him, Ortiz is currently ranked No.2 by the World Boxing Council. He might need to fight for the No.1 spot against one of the contenders, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Ortiz was poised to challenge WBC heavyweight champion Wilder on November 4 on Showtime Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. However, Ortiz tested positive for a banned drug during the drug screening, and he was promptly removed as a challenger for Wilder by the WBC. Wilder was disappointed in Ortiz being removed as his challenger, because he was looking forward to fighting him.
Wilder even went to bat for Ortiz by letting the boxing media know that he still was willing to fight Ortiz, but the WBC chose not to sanction the fight. As a result, Bermane Stiverne was moved from the co-feature bout on the November 4 card to face Wilder in the main event. Stiverne was previously scheduled to fight Dominic Breazeale on the undercard of Wilder-Ortiz on November 4.
Fortunately for Wilder, Stiverne was willing to move up to the main event to face him. Breazeale will still be fighting in the co-feature bout, but he’ll be fighting former 2 time world title challenger Eric Molina instead.
Ortiz will need to test clean in future tests by VADA for his suspension with the WBA to be lifted.
In 2014, Ortiz tested positive for Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid from his fight against Lateef Kayode on September 11, 2014. Ortiz knocked out Kayode in the 1st round. However, the results of the fight were later changed to a no contest due to the positive test by Ortiz.