By Jake Donovan
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has granted full approval for a September 11 show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The item was one of several on a loaded commission agenda held Thursday morning.
The panel unanimously voted to allow Golden Boy Promotions to promote the event, which will air live on Fox Sports 1. Headlining the show, unbeaten heavyweights Luis Ortiz and Lateef Kayode meet for a vacant interim title.
Officials were named for the bout: veteran referee Robert Byrd will serve as third man, while the three ringside judges will be Tim Cheatham, Robert Hoyle and Jerry Roth. All four officials are from Nevada, and were unanimously approved by the commission panel, with no objections from Golden Boy Promotions, Ortiz’ promoter. Greg Cohen, who promotes Kayode, was not present.
Ortiz (21-0, 18KOs) appears on Fox Sports 1 ‘Golden Boy Live’ for his third consecutive fight. The Cuban southpaw, now based in Florida, enters on the heels of televised knockout wins over Monte Barrett and Alex Gonzalez. His showdown with Kayode marks the first time the 35-year old heavyweight will fight in a scheduled 12-round bout.
Kayode (20-0, 16KOs) has fought just twice since his draw-turned-No Decision versus Antonio Tarver in their June ’12 cruiserweight clash. The bout marked the lone time Kayode—Nigerian-born but who now trains in Hollywood, Calif.—has been the full 12-round distance in his six-year career.
An 18-month hiatus followed the bout with Tarver, returning last December and then fighting again in January, both taking place at heavyweight versus marginal competition.
The winner of the heavyweight clash will be one of three fighters parading as a WBA heavyweight titlist. Ruslan Chagaev won the “regular” version of the belt with a disputed 12-round win over Fres Oquendo in July. Lineal heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko is recognized by the sanctioning body as its “super” champion; he next defends his slew of belts on Sept. 6 versus unbeaten Kubrat Pulev.
In the Fox Sports 1-televised co-feature, Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar makes the second defense of his interim featherweight belt versus former two-division champ Juan Manuel Lopez. The assigning of the bout is bizarre, given Lopez was knocked out in three rounds by Francisco Vargas this past July.
How it got approved and blessed are questions for the WBA and Nevada State Athletic Commission to answer. The subject was not addressed during Thursday’s agenda, but officials were named for the bout. Highly respected official Tony Weeks was tabbed as referee for the featherweight bout.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox