Luis Ortiz Off the Sidelines With An Eye on World Title Match

A week after being fined and re-instated by the WBC because of a failed drug test, unbeaten Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz returns to the ring tonight vs Dan Martz on FS1.

Luis Ortiz

Unbeaten heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz's positive drug test forced him out of a world title fight against Deontay Wilder in November. (Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)

Luis Ortiz was ringside last month for heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s first-round stoppage of Bermane Stiverne at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Cuban southpaw said: “Wilder is scared of me.”

“Wilder never acknowledged me sitting three seats from the ring. I’m 6-foot-4. He couldn’t miss me,” Ortiz said. “He acknowledged everybody around us, behind us, and under us, trying to play dumb and making sure he never made any eye contact with me. Wilder talks a good game, but he’s scared of me—one thousand percent.”

Stiverne replaced Ortiz against Wilder after Ortiz tested positive for banned substances. The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association found that the 38-year-old failed to disclose two medications he was taking.

Last week the WBC fined Ortiz $25,000 for failing to disclose the medications, and re-instated him in the sanctioning organization’s rankings. After a year-long absence, “King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) will pursue his second straight stoppage victory tonight when he takes on Dan Martz, a 27-year-old from Clarksburg, West Virginia, at Hialeah Park in Miami, Florida,

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity against my new opponent,” Ortiz said. “It was frustrating to be watching from ringside that night instead of in the ring with Wilder given the circumstances and how it happened.”

Ortiz-Martz is happening on the undercard of a 175-pound main event featuring Ahmed Elbiali against former world champion Jean Pascal on the FS1 and FOX Deportes-televised card, which airs at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

“I’m going to take care of business on Friday night, then my goal is to become a world champion,” Ortiz said. “If it can happen against Wider in March or April, that’s a dream come true. Don’t get me wrong—I respect Wilder for agreeing to fight me, but he would never be able to do with me what he did to Stiverne or any of his other opponents.”

I’m very grateful for this opportunity against my new opponent. It was frustrating to be watching from ringside that night instead of in the ring with Wilder given the circumstances and how it happened. Unbeaten heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz

Ortiz’s last fight was a seventh-round knockout of David Allen at Manchester Arena in England last Dec. 16.

“If it’s up to me, Luis will be back in the ring in February or March against one of the top, undefeated guys, if not, for a title shot. At his age, Luis can’t sit around and wait,’’ said Jay Jiminez, Ortiz’s manager.

Ortiz has signature stoppage wins over Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson, as well as a unanimous decision over Malik Scott.

Scott lasted 96 seconds with Wilder in March 2014, but Jennings went the distance in a loss to Klitschko in April 2014 before facing Ortiz.

“If these guys are trying to wait until he’s too old to fight him, that’ a travesty,” said Ortiz’s trainer Henry Caicedo. “But Luis isn’t having the gym wars or taking unnecessary punishment because it’s a very technical work environment, and during time as a professional, he’s the one doing the knocking out.”

For a complete look at Ortiz vs Martz, visit our fight page

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