IN the co-feature on the Erislandy Lara vs Brian Castano bill, Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) earned a unanimous decision victory over a game Christian Hammer (24-6, 14 KOs). Although the judges scored the fight 100-90 and 99-91 twice, both men fought through bloody noses at different points in the fight and both were stunned in a back-and-forth second round.
Ortiz, who earned his third consecutive victory since dropping a thrilling slugfest with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder one year ago, is now looking for another world title shot.
“The fight wasn’t what I was expecting,” said Ortiz. “It was a hard fight and my corner really had to work with me. After I got the rhythm, I heated up a little bit. Every heavyweight out there should know that I still have it at 40-years-old. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, I’m ready.”
Although Hammer fought with more energy and with more resolve than in previous fights with other top-tier heavyweights Tyson Fury and Alexander Povetkin, Ortiz used his superior technique and skills to eventually cruise to the lopsided decision. Ortiz averaged 45 jabs thrown per round and landed 61 jabs to just 20 for Hammer, while also connecting on 49 percent of his power punches. Ortiz made a conscious effort to attack Hammer’s body with 33.6% of his total connects (45 of 140) coming via body shots.
“I fought a fight that I hadn’t for years, which is box and work,” said Ortiz. “So I’m not disappointed I didn’t knock him out because I showed some of my boxing skills tonight.”
“Ortiz is a very good and experienced fighter,” said the 31-year-old Hammer, who was making his American debut. “He’s technical and smart but he’s not as intimidating as people say he is. I respect Ortiz but I don’t think he’s the best fighter I’ve ever faced.
“I’m very confident going forward. I know that I can go the distance with anyone and I’m willing to fight anyone. People thought I’d get knocked out but I proved them wrong.”