The stage is set for the first U.S. card on the first day of the New Year.
Weight was not of concern to any of the ten participants on the five-fight all-heavyweight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View card airing live (also on Fite TV) Saturday evening from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Headlining the show, top contender Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27KOs; 2NC) faces former IBF titlist Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25KOs) in a rare battle of heavyweight southpaws which comes in the form of a scheduled 12-round title eliminator.
Miami’s Ortiz weighed 243.4 pounds—the heaviest of his career—for his first fight since a 45-second wipeout of Alexander Flores nearly 14 months ago. That fight represents his lone ring appearance for the Cuban southpaw—who turns 43 in March—since his repeat knockout loss to then-unbeaten WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder in November 2019.
Martin weighed 246.2 pounds for his first fight since the pandemic. The St. Louis native—now based out of the greater Los Angeles area—has been out of the ring since a February 2020 stoppage win over Gerald Washington, who also appears on Saturday’s show.
In the co-feature, Frank Sanchez (19-0, 13KOs) faces late replacement Christian Hammer (26-8, 16KOs) in a scheduled 10-round heavyweight bout.
Sanchez—a Cuban heavyweight based locally in Miami—weighed 239.2 pounds for what will be his fifth bout inside of 14 months. Hammer weighed 264.8 pounds for the short notice assignment, replacing Puerto Rico’s Carlos Negron (25-3, 20KOs) who tested positive for Covid during fight week.
In his most recent performance, Sanchez—a training stablemate of pound-for-pound Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs)—outpointed Efe Ajagba this past October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Also on the undercard, Jonnie Rice (14-6-1, 10KOs) and Michael Polite Coffie (12-1, 9KOs) are set to run it back barely five months after their first meeting. Rice scored a fifth-round stoppage in a stunning upset, with Coffie suffering his first defeat.
South Carolina’s Rice—now based out of Los Angeles—weighed 283.8 pounds, more than 15 pounds above his weight of 268 ½ pounds for the first fight which produced by far the biggest win of his career.
Coffie—an eight-year U.S. Marine based out of Kissimmee, Florida—checked in at 278.4 pounds, seven pounds heavier than his weight of 271 ¼ pounds in July.
Rice entered the first fight as a late replacement for Washington (20-4-1, 13KOs), who tested positive for Covid ahead of fight week for that July 31 PBC on Fox event. Washington resurfaces on Saturday’s undercard, facing Ali Eren Demirezen (14-1, 11KOs) in a scheduled 10-round heavyweight bout.
Washington—a U.S. Navy veteran and USC graduate from Vallejo, California—weighed 253.8 pounds for his first fight since his previously mentioned knockout loss to Martin in February 2020. The weight was nearly 15 pounds heavier than when he challenged Wilder for the WBC title in February 2017, losing by fifth-round knockout. Demirezen was 256.2 pounds for his second career fight in the U.S. The 31-year-old Turkish heavyweight based out of Hamburg suffered his lone career defeat in his previous stateside appearance, weighing 247 ½ in a ten-round decision to then-unbeaten Ajagba in July 2019.
The opening bout of the all-heavyweight PPV show pits unbeaten Victor Faust (real name Viktor Vykhryst) against Iago Kiladze (27-5-1, 19KOs) in a scheduled eight-round contest.
Faust (8-0, 6KOs) tipped the scale at a career-heaviest 253.2 pounds for his second straight fight in the U.S, on the heels of blasting out Mike Marshall inside of three rounds this past October 9 at T-Mobile Arena. Kiladze—a Georgian heavyweight based out of Los Angeles—weighed 216.6 pounds, his lightest since moving up to heavyweight in 2017.
Below are the weights for the rest of the undercard, with select bouts to air live on Fox beginning 5:00pm ET.
Frank Martin (14-0, 10KOs), Indianapolis, 137 pounds vs. Romero Duno (24-2, 19KOs), Miami via Cotabato City, Philippines, 135.8 pounds—10 rds, lightweight
Geovany Bruzon (6-0, 5KOs), Holguin, Cuba, 252 ½ pounds vs. Lenier Pero (5-0, 3KOs), Miami, 252.2 pounds—8 rds, heavyweight
Maliek Montgomery (11-0, 10KOs), Macon, Georgia, 129.2 pounds vs. Angel Luna (14-8-1, 7KOs), Bronx, 130 pounds—8 rds, junior lightweight
Atif Oberlton (4-0, 4KOs), Philadelphia, 174.2 pounds vs. Ernest Amuzu (26-5, 22KOs), Hohoe, Ghana, 174.4 pounds—6 rds, light heavyweight
Steven Torres (5-0, 5KOs), Reading, Pennsylvania, 256.8 pounds vs. James Evans (4-0, 4KOs), Toledo, Ohio, 216.6 pounds—4 rds, heavyweight
Alayn Limonta (3-0, 3KOs), Miami, 145.8 pounds vs. Ray Barlow (5-1, 3KOs), Atlanta, 247.4 pounds—4 rds, welterweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox