Tuesday, September 26, 2023  |


Luis Ortiz: I’m going to make history for myself and Cuba when I KO Deontay Wilder

Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Fighters Network

Never, in the long, storied history of heavyweight championship boxing, has a latino big man born outside the U.S. worn the title.

With a victory over Deontay Wilder on Saturday in Brooklyn, Luis Ortiz can become the first man to do. The 38-year-old Cuban faces Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title on Showtime, and he’ll be just the fourth Cuban native to vie for the crown.

Three other Cubans did so and came up short. There was Jorge Luis Gonzalez, who lost to Riddick Bowe in 1995. And then two different Cubans were turned back by Vitali Klitschko — Juan Carlos Gomez and Odlanier Solis.

Of course, there were many great amateurs who were unable to challenge for the title in communist Cuba and never even afforded the chance to turn pro like the great Teofilo Stevenson with his three Olympic gold medals. There was also Felix Savon, who grabbed three gold medals as well.

“This fight is not only important for my family, but for Cuban boxing history,” said Ortiz. “My only focus right now is on the strategy I will need to defeat Wilder, but I know this fight has a lot of significance. I’m going to make history for myself and my country when I knock out Wilder on March 3.”

John Ruiz, an American of Puerto Rican descent, remains the lone latino heavyweight to wear the strap.