By Jim Calfa: In an impressive comeback, former two-time heavyweight world champion Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) survived two earlier knockdowns to rally to stop Charles Martin (28-3-1, 25 KOs) in the sixth round in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator on Saturday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida.
Going into the sixth, the 42-year-old Ortiz looked like he was heading towards a guaranteed defeat, as he’d been dropped in the first and the fourth round the younger and more spry 6’5′ Martin.
In the sixth, Ortiz hurt Martin with a left-right combination that had him literally out on his feet. Ortiz then dropped the former IBF heavyweight champion Martin with a huge shot.
Martin got back to his feet and was dropped for the second time, put down on his hands and knees. This time the referee waved it off.
In an incredibly boring fight, highly hyped heavyweight contender Frank Sanchez (20-0, 13 KOs) put the audience at the Seminole asleep in beating journeymen Christian Hammer (26-9, 16 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision.
In round 10, Sanchez shoved the 34-year-old Hammer to the canvas and the referee shockingly gave him credit for a knockdown. It didn’t matter because the replacement opponent Hammer had already given away all 10 rounds.
The judges’ scores were 100-89, 100-89, and 100-89. Boxing News 24 also scored it the same at 100-89.
Sanchez circled the ring nonstop, throwing potshots, and not letting his hands go against a fighter that he should have been able to knockout.
The lack of power for the 29-year-old Sanchez was exposed tonight. He can’t punch, so he throws potshots, and then pulls back. At times when Hammer did get in position to fire off shots, Sanchez would tie him up, treating him like a knockout artist rather than an average puncher.
All in all, this was a poor performance from the Eddy Reynoso-trained Sanchez. Reynoso, who also trains Canelo Alvarez, said earlier this week that he feels Sanchez is ready to fight for a world title in 2022.
Well, after this performance, he’s not going to be high on the list for Oleksandr Usyk or Tyson Fury.
Jonathan Rice (15-6-1, 10 KOs) defeated Michael Coffie (12-2, 9 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision in heavyweight action in their rematch. It was another situation where Rice, 34, had too much stamina for a tired-looking Coffie.
The judges scored it 97-93, 97-93, and 99-91. Boxing News 24 scored it 97-93 for Rice. The final punch stats saw Rice land 108 of 387 shots for a 28% connect rate.
For his part, the 35-year-old Coffie connected on 59 of 378 punches for a 16% connect rate. Last July, Rice stopped Coffie in the fifth round.
Heavyweight fringe contender Ali Eren Demirezen (15-1, 12 KOs) wore down and halted 39-year-old former world title challenger Gerald Washington (20-5-1, 13 KOs) in the eighth round.
Washington had nothing left by the eighth round, as 31-year-old Turkish fighter Demirezen wore him out with his nonstop pressure.
During the eighth, Washington’s corner wisely had the contest halted. The time of the stoppage was at :27 of the eighth.
The win for Demirezen was his fourth consecutive win since suffering a 10 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Efe Ajagba in 2019.
As for Washington, the loss was his second consecutive defeat and his fifth in his last seven fights since 2017 when he was stopped in the fifth round by former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Washington has gone from being a highly ranked contender to that of a journeyman, and it’ll be interesting to see how much longer he’ll continue his sagging career.
In an early fight for the year candidate, unbeaten heavyweight prospect Viktor Faust (9-0, 7 KOs) scored a premature second round knockout win over the always tough Iago Kiladze (27-6-1, 19 KOs).
Both fighters were on the canvas in the first and second rounds. The time of the stoppage was at 1:44 of round two. It was a good fight but bad stoppage.
In round two, Faust was dropped by the 35-year-old Kildadze. However, Faust got back up and returned the favor, knocking the Georgian down.
At that point, the referee quickly waved the fight off despite Kiladze looking unhurt and ready to continue fighting. As you would guess, Kildze was hopping mad and shoved the referee.
Undefeated lightweight contender Frank Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) defeated Romero Duno (24-3, 19 KOs) by a fourth round stoppage. Martin dropped Duno two times in the fourth round. The contest was then halted.
The time of the stoppage was at 2:54 of the fourth. Earlier this week, Errol Spence Jr. was talking up this fight.
Unbeaten heavyweight Lenier Pero (6-0, 3 KOs) beat Geovany Bruzon (6-1, 5 KOs) by an eight round unanimous decision. The judges had it 77-75, 78-74, 78-74. Boxing News 24 had Pero winning 78-74 in this action-packed bout.