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Vergil Ortiz Jr. headlines in Los Angeles vs. Michael McKinson on March 19

Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Fighters Network

Vergil Ortiz Jr. is bringing his power-filled fists back to Los Angeles.

The hard-punching welterweight contender, ranked No. 5 by The Ring, squares off against fellow unbeaten Michael “The Problem” McKinson in a DAZN-streamed main event on March 19 at the Galen Center on the campus of USC in downtown Los Angeles.

Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) will fight for the first time in Los Angeles since June 2018, when he scored a third-round knockout against Juan Carlos Salgado.

“I am excited to return to Los Angeles, my home away from home,” Ortiz stated. “I have been training in Southern California for my entire career and can’t wait to put on a big show for all my SoCal fans. I am taking on an undefeated, world-ranked opponent in McKinson, but I am ready to show the world that I belong at the top of the division and am ready for a world championship title shot.”

McKinson (21-0, 2 KOs), a 27-year-old southpaw who hails from the United Kingdom, will take on his most daunting challenge to date. He has won 10 consecutive 10-round unanimous decisions, his last victory coming against Poland’s Przemyslaw Runowski.

“Firstly, I want to thank everyone behind securing me this opportunity,” McKinson said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to take America by storm. Vergil Ortiz, Jr. is an unbelievable talent that’s captured the eyes of everyone, but I’m about to come with a whole new box of problems. This fight changes my life, but winning this changes my future. This is huge for me, my family, and everyone around me; I’ll give it everything.”

Ortiz, who had a decorated amateur career of 140-20, including seven national championships and a gold medal at the 2013 Junior Olympics, debuted as a junior welterweight in 2016. However, he has rapidly ascended the ranks of the 147-pound division.

His last three victories have come against two former world title challengers and an ex-titleholder. Last August, he stopped the always rugged Lithuanian Egidijus Kavaliauskas in eight rounds. Five months prior, he knocked out former 140-pound titleholder Maurice Hooker in seven rounds.

Ortiz, who was Ring Magazine’s 2019 Prospect of the Year, has long craved a significant fight. While this bout does not fall into that category, it’s another opportunity for the young phenom to stake his claim as one of the sport’s brightest talents.