Back in early January, former title challenger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (33-2) was ordered by the IBF to face Filip Hrgovic (14-0) in a heavyweight final eliminator. The winner would have become IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk’s mandatory challenger.
Ortiz was in action on January 1st when he got off the canvas twice to stop Charles Martin in 6 rounds. According to his manager Jay Jimenez, he also suffered a hand fracture that prevented him from accepting the fight against Hrgovic.
The hand injury has now healed and Ortiz is now able to resume training.
Hrgovic is set to face Zhilei Zhang in the final eliminator on May 7 as part of the Canelo-Bivol undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
With Usyk’s planned rematch against Anthony Joshua on hold because of the Russia-Ukraine war, Ortiz would like to step in and face the former champion, who is already considering the scenario of an interim-fight to stay active.
“King Kong Ortiz is Back! I am starting training this week. My rehabilitation of the hand injury is done. I am ready for anyone, including Hrgovic,” Ortiz told BoxingScene.com.
“Iff not him then any of the top contenders. I heard rumors of Joshua looking for southpaw work. I would be honored to step in for his [interim] bout while he waits for Usyk as he defends his beautiful country. My prayers go out to the Klitschko brothers and all the Ukrainian people.”
Ortiz was offered a fight against Joshua in 2019 but he opted to face then WBC champion Deontay Wilder in a rematch. Wilder beat him via seventh round knockout. The Cuban heavyweight has fought twice since then, winning both bouts by stoppage.
Send questions or comments to email@example.com. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter