Nothing is official yet, but the respective teams of heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz are in negotiations for a March 3 grudge match at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, sources tell FightNights.com.
Wilder (39-0, 38 KO's), 32, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, was set to defend against Ortiz on Nov. 4 in a highly-anticipated fight and card, but Ortiz tested positive for the banned diuretics chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, which can be used to mask PED use. Both are designed to eliminate fluids and waste at a faster rate; medical experts previously told FightNights.com.
Following an investigation, the WBC announced in early October that Ortiz had been removed from the card, and Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KO’s), 38, a Haiti native fighting out of Las Vegas, who lost to Wilder on points for the WBC title in 2015, was moved into the main event for a mandatory rematch.
Ortiz (28-0, 24 KO's), 38, a Cuban defector based out of Miami, claimed that he took the medication to regulate his blood pressure, but never disclosed it on his VADA paperwork where it asked explicitly for a list of substances he was currently using. Furthermore, Ortiz never requested for a therapeutic use exemption.
Ortiz also tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone following a first-round knockout of Lateef Kayode in 2014 to win the interim belt. Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury is currently suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control for allegedly using the same drug.
Ortiz was stripped of the title, fined $8,000, and suspended eight months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The result of the fight was also changed to a no contest, and Ortiz was asked to perform 15 hours of community service.
Wilder was a color commentator in Ortiz's most recent fight on Dec. 8, where his arch-rival knocked out Daniel Martz with a brutal left hand. Following the victory, Wilder climbed into the ring to issue another challenge to Ortiz.
Will these two massive punchers finally go to war in 2018?