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Vergil Ortiz Jr challenges Eimantas Stanionis on March 18th on DAZN

Image: Vergil Ortiz Jr challenges Eimantas Stanionis on March 18th on DAZN

By Dan Ambrose: #1 ranked WBA welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr (19-0, 19 KOs) will challenge secondary champion Eimantas Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs) for his belt in the main event on DAZN on March 18th.

The winner of the Ortiz Jr vs. Stanionis fight will face the WBA champion Errol Spence Jr if he’s still competing in the division. If Spence vacates, as many expect him to, the Ortiz-Stanionis victor will likely be elevated to full champion status.

Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis and his father, Derek ‘Bozy’ Ennis were surprised to see the 24-year-old Ortiz placed ahead of them for the fight with the 28-year-old Stanionis because that’s a fight they wanted.

It would have given Boots (29-0, 27 KOs) a better match-up to force Spence to fight him than what he’s left with now, facing little-known Karen Chukhadzhian. The WBA has its reasons for giving Vergil Ortiz Jr the shot at Stanionis rather than the dangerous Boots Ennis.

Ortiz Jr vs. Stanionis is essentially a 50-50 match-up, as both guys are come-forward type sluggers who go to war from start to finish. In recent fights, Ortiz has beaten these fringe-level welterweight contenders:

  • Michael McKinson
  • Egidijus Kavaliauskas
  • Maurice Hooker
  • Samuel Vargas
  • Brad Solomon

Ortiz Jr was criticized for being matched against the light-hitting British fighter Michel McKinson in his last fight in August, as it was a huge step backward from his previous bout against former welterweight world title challenger Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas in 2021.

In the Kavaliauskas fight, Ortiz was badly staggered and on the verge of being knocked out. Somehow, Vergil could weather the storm to come back and stop ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliaskas in the eighth round. Nevertheless, it was troubling to watch Ortiz come close to being stopped so early in his career against a veteran that he was supposed to dominate.

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“The 147-pound bout between Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Eimantas Stanionis is slated to take place on March 18 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” said Mike Coppinger of ESPN.

“Ortiz’s promoter, Golden Boy, won the rights to the WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title fight at last month’s purse bid with a commitment of $2.3 million and will stream the fight on DAZN.  Now, Oscar De La Hoya’s promotional outfit is placing the fight in Ortiz’s home state.”

With Spence likely to move up to 154 to dodge Boots Ennis, there’s an excellent chance that the Ortiz-Stanionis will soon be made full champion.

It’ll be interesting to see what type of champion Vergil turns out to be. Will he be willing to take a risky fight against Boots Ennis, or will he play it safe, taking sure-thing fights that he has no chance of losing?

Golden Boy Promotions promote Ortiz Jr, and they might not be willing to put him in risky fights if their current flagship fighter Ryan Garcia is blown out of the water by Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis next April.

Depending on how badly Ryan is knocked out by Tank, Vergil might be the only one Golden Boy has left that will appeal to the boxing public.

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