Luis Ortiz beats Bryant Jennings by TKO in heavyweight showdown

December 20, 2015

Photo by: Alex Menendez - HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions

One of boxing's dullest divisions in recent years suddenly is teeming with interesting matchups reminiscent of its better days, as today's heavyweight landscape no longer can be considered the realm of Wladimir Klitschko and a bunch of no-name contenders.  Instead, the division now can boast of a number of intriguing fighters all eager to become the undisputed king of the weight class.

One of those boxers is former Cuban amateur and current WBA Interim Heavyweight Champion Luis "The Real King Kong" Ortiz  (24-0, 21 KOs), who closed out the year by maintaining his title with a highlight-reel stoppage of American Bryant Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) in the seventh round of their bout at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.

"Today, there is a new era in the heavyweight division," said Ortiz, who landed a vicious uppercut to end the fight. "Jennings is fighter who deserves much respect, but he can tell you that I am a force in the heavyweight division. I am going to go out and obtain my objective. "I have been training for a big fight of this magnitude for three years. My strategy was to keep him at a distance and I was able to do that effectively with my reach and my jab. I will fight whoever next, whoever Golden Boy Promotions gives me I will take. Wilder, Fury, Klitschko anyone of them, I am ready to prove that I am the heavyweight world champion.  A lot of people say a lot of things about me, but the testing showed that I am a clean fighter."

An Ortiz matchup with any of those names -- Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, or Klitschko -- would be fascinating to watch because Ortiz not only has one-punch knockout power, but also has polished boxing skills developed from his days in Cuba's prestigious amateur boxing program.

Jennings, a former football player who took up the sport at a relatively late age, showed heart and determination, rallying in the early rounds by working Ortiz's body on the interior while also landing several good right uppercuts.

In the end, however, Ortiz's superior boxing ability allowed him to land clean shots, and when he did connect, he repeatedly hurt Jennings.

"I wasn't on my game, and he got the best of me," Jennings said. "I didn't adjust well and he was the better man."

The co-main event saw two Super Featherweights - former WBA Featherweight and Super Featherweight World Champion Nicolas Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) and Jason Sosa (18-1-4, 14 KOs) -- wage a superb battle with both fighters landing sharp, accurate shots throughout the fight. While Sosa won the fight on one of the judge's cards, the fight was ruled a draw as the two other judges had the fight even.

"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."

The HBO broadcast team also vehemently disagreed with the decision, as they collectively had Walters winning nearly every round.

"I thought I won and am disappointed it was a draw," Sosa said. "I worked hard, I really thought I won the fight."

In an undercard bout, light heavyweight Vyacheslav "Lion Heart - Chigonsky" Shabranskyy (15-0, 12 KOs) kept his undefeated record intact slugging out a majority decision over Yuneski Gonzalez (16-2, 12 KOs) in an action-packed brawl that saw both fighters land huge shots throughout the fight.

"This fight was the most important and most exciting fight of my career," said Shabranskyy. "I did feel a lot of Gonzalez' punches but I also feel like I hurt him -- especially in the last round, he was beginning to sway. If I had a little more time I feel I would have knocked him out."

Another bout featuring two "name" veterans saw middleweight Gabriel Rosado (22-9, 13 KOs) shake off some tough early rounds to earn a hard-fought unanimous victory against former IBF Welterweight World Champion Joshua "Grand Master" Clottey (39-6, 22 KOs).

 "It has been more than a year since I have been in the ring so I did feel a little I the rust but I feel like this fight really helped me shake it off," Rosado said. "Clottey is a tough opponent, former world champion, definitely a challenge for me in my first fight back. I delivered an entertaining fight tonight and I was happy with my performance.  I am ready for my next big challenge, I would like a shot at Canelo [Alvarez] next."

After the fight, Clottey expressed his discomfort with fighting at this higher weight class.

"This was an off night for me," Clottey said.  "I do think that the fans enjoyed the fight --we are both fighters that do not like to back down. However, I don't feel comfortable at this weight class, I want to go back down to 154 and continue to fight at junior middleweight."

In another interesting bout, former WBA and IBF Featherweight World Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (25-1, 17 KOs) had all he could handle after a 13-month layoff, squaring off in a lightweight showdown against Hylon Williams Jr. (16-2-1, 3 KOs) of Houston. After 10 rounds of back-and-forth action, the judges awarded Gamboa a hard-fought unanimous decision.

 "It feels good to be back in the ring," said Gamboa, another graduate of Cuba's outstanding amateur program. "I trained in Cuba, and I feel that all the hard work paid off.  I was faster and stronger in the ring. I know I dominated the action tonight, I made sure he knew I was in control from the first round."

Williams disagreed with the decision.

 "I felt good about the pace of the fight, I know I hurt him a few times," Williams said. "This fight should have gone my way."

By Staff of and news services

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