Eimantas Stanionis, Vergil Ortiz to fight on March 18 in Texas
The clash between welterweight contenders Eimantas Stanionis and Vergil Ortiz, Jr. will take place on March 18 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a source confirmed to The Ring Wednesday morning. ESPN’s Mike Coppinger was the first to report the story.
The 12-round bout will be promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Ortiz, and will be another homecoming of sorts for Ortiz, who resides in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie. Possible locations where the fight could take place are the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, the Ford Center at The Star in nearby Frisco or the College Park Center in nearby Arlington.
The 24-year-old did fight once in his hometown, knocking out Antonio Orozco at the Verizon Theatre in August 2019.
The match-up will pit two fighters ranked in the top 10 by The Ring. Ortiz and Stanionis are ranked No. 5 and 6, respectively.
Last month, at the WBA Convention in Orlando, Florida, Golden Boy ($2,300,000) outbid Premier Boxing Champions ($2,100,100) to win the right to promote the fight. According to the WBA rules, Stanionis, who holds the WBA secondary world title belt, will receive 75 percent, or $1,725,000, while Ortiz receives the remaining 25 percent, or $575,000.
Stanionis (14-0 1 No Decision, 9 knockouts), who grew up in Kaunas, Lithuania, won the WBA world secondary title by defeating Radzhab Butaev by split-decision in his last bout on April 16. Ironically, Stanionis fought on the same card as Errol Spence, who added the WBA world title belt by stopping Yordenis Ugas in a unification fight. Stanonis was the mandatory challenger to face Ugas, and had his petition later denied by the WBA after pushing for a title consolidation fight with Spence, who was later elevated to ‘Super Champion’ status by the sanctioning body.
The 28-year-old, a 2016 Olympian, has fought under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner since his pro debut in April 2017. Stanionis also has victories over Justin DeLoach and Thomas Dulorme.
Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) last fought on August 6, stopping Michael McKinson in the ninth round. The fight was originally scheduled for March 13, but Ortiz had to withdraw from the fight after being diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis, which forced him to be hospitalized days before the fight.
The win over McKinson was sanctioned as a WBA world title eliminator, which was successfully lobbied by Golden Boy and manager Rick Mirigian.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]