Vergil Ortiz is set to return to the ring at a new weight.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the unbeaten knockout artist will headline a January 6 DAZN show versus Fredrick Lawson, in what will mark his junior middleweight debut. The show is due to take place at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, confirming a month-long venue hold by Golden Boy Promotions with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Golden Boy president Eric Gomez previously confirmed that January 6 date during the WBO annual convention in early October. The reveal was made in hopes of securing a favorable ranking for Ortiz at his new fighting weight.
Ortiz (19-0, 19KOs) has not fought since a ninth-round knockout of unbeaten Michael McKinson last August 6 in Fort Worth, Texas, minutes from his hometown in Grand Prairie as part of the greater Dallas area.
That win marked his lone fight of 2022, a year slowed by illness.
That very fight resurfaced more than four months after its originally scheduled date last March 19, which Ortiz was forced to postpone just ahead of fight week after he was hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis.
Ortiz was named mandatory challenger to secondary titlist Eimantas Stanionis after his win over McKinson. Their ordered title fight was sent to a purse bid hearing, won by Golden Boy last December and with plans to stage on April 29 in Arlington, also part of the greater Dallas area.
Ortiz was forced to withdraw from that fight date, and again during fight week ahead of their canceled July 8 headliner in San Antonio when he suffered from the same illness. It was immediately agreed upon by his team that he would no longer campaign at welterweight, at which time they huddled up to determine the best course of action for Ortiz to safely return to the ring.
Lawson (30-3, 22KOs) has largely competed at welterweight throughout his 12-plus year career.
The 33-year-old Ghana native—who lives and trains in Chicago—has won his last two starts, including a ten-round decision over Estevan Villalobos this past April 29 in Arlington, Texas. Ironically, the win came on the very card that Ortiz was due to headline versus Stanionis but instead proceeded with a main event featuring lightweight contender William Zepeda.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox