SAN DIEGO, December 19, 2015 – Former Cuban amateur boxer Luis Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) put himself on the fast track to the top of the heavyweight division with an impressive seventh round TKO victory over Bryant Jennings of Philadelphia (19-2, 10 KOs).
Ortiz came out aggressively from the opening bell, hurting Jennings twice in the first round with a powerful left hook. Jennings stayed on his feet, cleared his head, and made it out of the round. Jennings did much better in Round 2, shortening the distance between himself and Ortiz and fighting inside. Ortiz started gaining ground again in Round 3. It became clear Ortiz was methodically doing more damage to Jennings than Jennings was able to do to Ortiz.
The heavyweights stayed busy and the pace stayed high as the fight got into the middle rounds. As Jennings insisted on fighting inside, Ortiz took advantage of it and landed several powerful upper cuts, a tool not many heavyweights employ as well as Ortiz. Jennings threw several of his own uppercuts that got Ortiz’s attention.
Ortiz adjusted and stayed more out of Jennings’ range in the fifth round, not wanting to get hit again with those annoying upper cuts. Observers thought Ortiz might tire himself out moving around, but his amateur experience in hundreds of bouts served him well. Ortiz landed another savage upper cut on Jennings; it’s a credit to Jennings he took so many shots from Ortiz and was still competitive.
After a slight pause in the action in the sixth round, Ortiz closed in on Jennings, and once again the southpaw’s upper cut did its job, dropping Jennings to the canvas face first. Jennings got to his feet, and said he could continue, but it was a formality. Ortiz swooped in, landed several more devastating punches, and referee Dick Pakozdi had seen enough, and stopped the bout at 2:41 of the seventh round. Jennings howled in disappointment.
After the bout, Ortiz confirmed he’d had the flu all week, making his performance even more astonishing. He was seen spitting in the ring before punches several times, and now it made sense.
Of Jennings, Ortiz said, “He’s a fighter who deserves much respect, but he can tell you that I am a force in the heavyweight division. Not anybody goes 12 rounds with Klitschko. But you know, I have my training, I have my school, I’m going to go out and obtain my objective.” Calling out current American heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, Ortiz said, “Everyone has to take me into consideration.”
Ortiz commented on what he called “trash” people said about him taking steroids. “I’m a man of few words but I’m a clean man.” Both Ortiz and Jennings participated in VADA testing for this bout.
Jennings faulted his own performance for the loss. “It was the fact of how I let him hit me. It was me underestimating his pedigree … He was hitting me clean, they were good punches. I was rushing. I wasn’t on my game and he got the best of me. He started to box a little more and I came with the same approach. I should have slowed it down more, listen to my corner, try to wear him down more a little earlier. It was just the pedigree that overpowered everything I brought to the table.”
Jennings landed slightly more punches overall, 136 of 327 (42 percent) to 128 of 441 for Ortiz (29 percent). Jennings also had the edge on power punches, 130 of 276 (47 percent) to 109 of 268 for Ortiz (41 percent).
Ortiz’s power punches have now made him a heavyweight power player. Fans are already clamoring for a big Ortiz opponent, be it Wilder, Fury, Klitschko, or Joshua. Whoever Ortiz fights, Golden Boy Promotions has a big star on its hands and fans will be eager to see Ortiz in the ring again. Make it soon, Oscar.
Put this one in the headscratcher category. Fans got more of a show than expected from featherweight Nicholas Walters of Jamaica (26-0-1, 21 KOs) and Jason Sosa (18-1-4, 14 KOs) of New Jersey, fighting to a 10 round draw to the displeasure of everyone watching except Jason Sosa and the judges. Scores were 96-94 Sosa, and two 95-95 scorecards.
It was a close quarters battle of a fight, built on a foundation of wicked body shots by both boxers. Walters had far more punching power and accuracy. He put on a body punching clinic, landing 95 body shots. Sosa gets credit for making it through ten rounds of that punishment and never backing down. He is the first fighter to get through a fight with Walters without going down or being stopped since early 2012. Note that it’s also his fourth draw in 23 professional fights.
But Sosa shouldn’t have gotten more than our respect. Walters landed 45 percent of his punches to Sosa’s 19 percent, and 113 more punches overall. Walters landed 52 percent of his power punches (225 of 436), Sosa just 20 percent (121 of 610). The only possible explanation is that Sosa landed 186 head shots to Walters’ 116 head shots. Was that it?
Neither fighter was happy about the outcome. “I am in total shock. I was never in any danger, never hurt,” Walters said. “[Sosa] is a good fighter — the kind of fight I wanted — but I thought I won all the rounds. So surprised this happened to me.”
“I thought I won and am disappointed it was a draw,” Sosa said. “I worked hard, I really thought I won the fight.”
Fans weren’t happy either, taking to social media to blast the judges and express their disappointment. It was fortunate the main event got rid of the bad taste of this bout.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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