March 3rd 2018 was a date that many fight fans were waiting for as WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder was facing his biggest test in his career in Luis Ortiz, who was also coming into the ring at the Barclays Center with an undefeated record and aspirations of becoming the first Cuban-born heavyweight champion. In the end, he was not able to make history.
Wilder was able to defend the WBC title by scoring a tenth round knockout of Ortiz to get his 40th win of his professional career and his 39th knockout/stoppage. Ortiz suffered the first loss of his pro career.
A lot of fans within the Barclays Center were psyched as Ortiz and Wilder looked at each other from their corners before the first round. A tentative start by Wilder allowed Ortiz to pursue him and get an early lead. In the second round, Wilder began to use his jab to get distance from Ortiz and scored a couple of times with his right hand. A combination that ended with Wilder connecting to the top of Ortiz’s head completed the second round. In Round 3, there was not much action from either fighter as Wilder hardly threw many punches and Ortiz was connecting but not with much conviction. As a response, the crowd was booing both fighters as they wanted the action that they were expecting from two undefeated heavyweight fighters. This carried over into Round 4 as Ortiz seemed to get close to Wilder due to him swatting away the pawing jabs that Wilder was throwing and Ortiz increasing his jab output after connecting with it after the beginning of the round.
The action picked up in Round 5, as Wilder started to use his right hand more even though he was getting touched a bit by Ortiz. A right hand that connected for Wilder had Ortiz buzzed a bit and then a combination sent Ortiz down for the first time in his career, and an eight count was given as Ortiz got up. This gave the momentum to Wilder as many felt that he was behind after the first four rounds.
Even though it seemed like Ortiz was in trouble from that knockdown, he was able to shake that off and get back into the fight. The sixth round had Ortiz responding to the knockdown by getting Wilder to the ropes and throwing two punch combinations and hits to the body. By the seventh round, it seemed like Luis Ortiz had Deontay Wilder figured out. He was able to time what was coming and then responded by throwing left hands. He got Wilder backed into the ropes and hit him with big shots that rocked him and Wilder was nearly knocked down himself. He was able to get through the round, but Ortiz had the advantage going to the eighth and ninth round. However, Ortiz did not press on it and Wilder was able to keep Ortiz away to get himself back into gear. At the beginning of the 10th, Wilder’s jab that was just pawing at Ortiz a few rounds before seemed to have more conviction, and he took more risks with his right hand. A four punch combination put down Ortiz again, and then an uppercut finished the fight with under a minute left.
With this win, Wilder stays among the top guys in the heavyweight division. The unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker on March 31st will decide who will also be a top fighter at heavyweight.