Vergil Ortiz Jr. hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis; withdraws from McKinson fight

Vergil Ortiz Jr. will not make his 2022 debut this weekend. has learned that the unbeaten welterweight contender has fallen ill and was forced to withdraw on Tuesday from his March 19 date with England's Michael McKinson. The news comes just days ahead of a scheduled Golden Boy Promotions card from USC Galen Center in Los Angeles.

ESPN's Mike Coppinger was first to report with the withdrawal, while first revealed Ortiz was reportedly sick.

Boxing scribe Steve Kim also reported via two sources with knowledge of the situation that Ortiz was "awfully big, heavy" in the gym recently. According to a study conducted on fatal exertional rhabdomyolysis, extreme weight cutting is listed as a possible factor.

Golden Boy later announced in a statement that Ortiz was hospitalized and diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis. According to a medical professional who spoke to Tuesday afternoon, rhabdomyolysis "tears away at your muscles" and can be fatal if not treated. This can be caused by overexertion, which results in muscles secreting a harmful protein which can increase the probability of becoming seriously ill.

Ortiz was released from the hospital Tuesday evening.

A voicemail left with Golden Boy executives went unreturned at the time of publication. has learned, though, that efforts are ongoing to save the show and find a replacement for McKinson (21-0, 2 KOs), who was set to make his U.S. debut, on four days' notice.

The undercard includes a 10-round welterweight battle between Alexis Rocha (18-1, 12 KOs) and Blair Cobbs (15-0-1, 10 KOs).

Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) was set to fight for the first time since splitting with Robert Garcia. The 23-year-old worked with Manny Robles in preparation for McKinson.

Ortiz was coming off an eighth-round knockout of former title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas last August 14 in Frisco, Texas. A scheduling conflict saw Garcia in the corner of secondary WBA 115-pound titlist Joshua Franco instead on a Top Rank show in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As a result, Ortiz entered the ring with his father, Vergil Sr., taking over in the corner, which ultimately led to the demise of his working relationship with Garcia.

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