Luis Ortiz suffered hand injury in victory over Charles Martin
By Huck Allen: Luis Ortiz suffered a hand injury in his sixth round knockout victory over former heavyweight champion Charles Martin last Saturday night to prevent him from facing Filip Hrgovic in the final title eliminator.
Unless he says otherwise, Joseph Parker (30-2, 21 KOs) could face Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) in the IBF title eliminator to decide the mandatory to champion Oleksandr Usyk.
The 42-year-old southpaw Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) had a more challenging time than expected in beating Martin last Saturday night in their headliner on FOX PPV at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida.
Luis Ortiz dropped twice
Twice Ortiz was knocked down by the 6’5″ Martin, although he was never hurt. The knockdowns were caused by Ortiz getting hit with shots that the 6’4″ Cuban didn’t see coming. Ortiz got up and showed no outward signs of being hurt on both occasions.
Moreover, Ortiz showed no signs of having injured one of his hands, but perhaps he hurt it when finishing off Martin in the sixth. Ortiz threw a decisive flurry of punches after hurting Martin with a lead left hand.
It’s a shame that Ortiz went through the trouble of fighting the former IBF heavyweight champion Martin (28-3-1, 25 KOs) and then not being able to take part in the final eliminator against Hrgovic after rallying to win the fight.
Charles Martin to try one more time
“We are willing to take it; Luis definitely wants another title shot,” Ortiz’s manager Jay Jiminez said to Sky Sports.
Hrgovic’s manager Nisse Sauerland said to Sky Sports that Ortiz couldn’t take the fight due to a hand injury.
“Retirement is not a consideration,” Martin’s manager Mike Borao told Sky Sports.
“Charles was winning the fight comfortably and got caught with a perfect punch. As history shows, it can happen to anyone.
“There are plenty of options available to Charles that can reverse the trajectory of his career overnight – Deontay Wilder, Andy Ruiz Jr, Joseph Parker, Derek Chisora or perhaps a rematch with Adam Kownacki,” Borao said.
Of that bunch, Martin’s best chance of fighting one of them is against 37-year-old Chisora, who is coming off a loss to Parker.
Matchroom Boxing will need a good opponent for Chisora’s next fight, and it might be a waste of time for promoter Eddie Hearn to be holding out hope that Wilder will agree to face him.
In terms of power and speed, Martin has the ability of a heavyweight in their early 20s.
Where Martin failed last Saturday night and in his knockout loss to Anthony Joshua in 2016 was on defense. Martin was hit with a shot that was badly telegraphed by Ortiz, and that punch shouldn’t have hit him.
“There is no doubt Charles is a top 15 heavyweight that is capable of beating anyone on any given night,” said Borao.
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