By Miguel Rivera
According to World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman - Cuba's Luis Ortiz, ranked third in the heavyweight division under the WBC, will have a "unique opportunity" when he challenged the current WBC champion of the division, Deontay Wilder.
The Wilder-Ortiz showdown was scheduled for November 4 but the Cuban failed a doping test and after analyzing the case, the WBC determined that Ortiz, who used a prescribed medication that he did not report on time, did not act in bad faith.
Ortiz was replaced in the contest by Bermane Stiverne, who Wilder blew away in one round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder vs. Ortiz is now close to a deal for March 3rd at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
"The Ortiz-Wilder fight is scheduled for March 3, it will be a unique moment for Ortiz, it will be his only opportunity (to go for the title)," Sulaiman said.
"Ortiz is a very tough boxer. He had a spectacular knockout (over Daniel Martz in two rounds on December 8 in Miami). He's back, he proved his innocence in the issue of doping and he's coming in with everything against Wilder."
The winner of the fight will fall in line to face IBF, IBO, WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in the summer of 2018.
Joshua will likely face WBO champion Joseph Parker in a unification in the early part of the upcoming year.
But Sulaiman warns that Ortiz could easily derail Wilder's wish to fight Joshua.
"It is absolutely a priority to do the Wilder-Joshua fight, but watch out for Cuba's Luis Ortiz when he goes against Wilder," stated Sulaiman, who also said the winner will face Joshua "in the most anticipated heavyweight fight" in 2018.
Wilder, 32 years old, is undefeated with 39 wins, 38 by knockout, while Ortiz, 38 years old, has also never lost and accumulated a record of 28 wins, with 24 before the limit.