Undefeated heavyweight world champion Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder retained his WBC title in his seventh defense with a tenth round knockout over unbeaten challenger Luis "The Real King Kong" Ortiz in a thrilling back-and-forth SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event Saturday night from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®. (Photos by Ryan Hafey, Tom Casino, Amanda Wescott, Ed Diller)
Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) not only survived the toughest test of his career but also finished the job in spectacular fashion by unleashing a ferocious 10th round assault on Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs). Wilder floored the Cuban challenger twice in the round, forcing referee David Fields to stop the fight at 2:05 of the round.
Oritz looked like he would dethrone Wilder in the seventh round, countering with a strong right hand that hurt the WBC heavyweight champion. Ortiz unleashed a barrage of punches against a stunned Wilder, who somehow managed to stay on his feet to close the round before being saved by the bell. Ortiz continued his assault on Wilder into the eighth round, who again managed to make it through the round.
In the ninth round, Wilder began to rebound as he knocked Ortiz off-balance with a straight right hand. America's only reigning heavyweight champion was firmly back in the fight as he landed a strong combination on Ortiz to close the round, completely changing the momentum of the fight.
Both fighters came out strong at the start of the tenth round, landing simultaneous blows that made each fighter temporarily wobbly. But it was Wilder who capitalized on the moment, as the Alabama-native pounced on Ortiz, sending his opponent to the canvas for the second time of the night with a flurry of overhand right hands. A dazed Ortiz returned to his feet, but was unable to withstand a follow-up assault from a confident Wilder, who landed an uppercut that sent Ortiz to the canvas for the third and final time.
Following his third successful title defense at Barclays Center, an emotional Wilder spoke to SHOWTIME Sports reporter Jim Gray about the most difficult fight of his career.
A proud but disappointed Ortiz, who was on the brink of a sensational seventh round stoppage of Wilder before the bell rang, also spoke to Gray following the fight.
Wilder out landed Ortiz 98-87, although Ortiz held a slight advantage in landed power punches, 63-60.
In the co-featured event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, Jose Uzcategui (27-2, 23 KOs) defeated Andre Dirrell (26-3, 16 KOs) via TKO two seconds into round nine, upon the request of Dirrell's trainer, Virgil Hunter. The win, which makes Uzcategui the interim IBF Super Middleweight World Champion, puts the hard-hitting Venezuelan in position to fight for the super middleweight title that Caleb Truax earned via a majority decision over James DeGale in December.