You can criticise a lot about Deontay Wilder but his heart isn’t one of them. Wilder had to survive a torrid 7th round to retain his WBC heavyweight title in an absorbing fight in New York.
Wilder boxing with caution early, but then suddenly and explosively came to life in the 5th round when he knocked down his previously unbeaten opponent towards the end of the round, a round which Ortiz was winning, but arguably the bell saved Ortiz.
But the Cuban survived and hurt Wilder badly in the 7th, and Wilder looked out on his feet, he absorbed punches very few thought he could. Wilder bravely stayed on his feet, refusing to take a count.
Wilder still looked unsteady on his feet when he came out for the 8th, but Wilder boxed smartly to avoid further trouble, and Ortiz’s chance, his moment of glory had gone.
Ortiz was noticeably tiring now and was caught again in the 10th and this time Wilder didn’t let him recover, and Wilder had retained his belt when seemingly on the brink of defeat.
Wilder stated his intention to fight Anthony Joshua, and after a scare like this, all parties know one punch can ruin all the best-laid plans, they would be wise to make the fight while they can. Joshua himself faces his next test when he squares off against the unbeaten WBO world champion Joshua Parker at the end of the month in a part unification fight in Wales.
There are obvious flaws in Wilder’s game but he has the punch to turn any fight around.
Wilder improves to 40-0, Ortiz drops to 28-1.
All eyes now turn to Cardiff and Joshua v Parker, and as we learned tonight anything can happen in heavyweight boxing. Parker will start as the underdog, and while I expect Joshua to win, it might be a fight that goes long and the Brit might have to settle for a points win.