A full breakdown of an explosive night of heavyweight action, led by Luis Ortiz against Charles Martin in a New Years Day title eliminator on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.
This Saturday January 1st, at the height of a special New Year’s Day FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view (8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT) from Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Cuban Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) meets former World Champion Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) in an IBF world title eliminator.
This all-heavy map will feature four more high-stakes heavyweight clashes. In the main co-event, main contestant Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sanchez faces a late substitution Christian hammer. As well, Jonnie Rice seeks to prove that his July upheaval of Michael coffie was anything but fluke when they clash again and Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington takes on the Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen. Open pay-per-view, undefeated prospect Viktor faust fight the game always Iago Kiladze.
Here’s a look at what fans can expect from this Saturday’s action:
Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27 KO) vs. Charles Martin (28-2-1, 25 KO)
Ortiz, 42, fighting in Miami to Camaguey, Cuba, has long been part of the elite in the heavyweight division. However, two losses in competition to then WBC champion Deontay Wilder and a general reluctance among other top heavyweight dogs to take up his challenge prevented the highly skilled Cuban from further great opportunities.
Still, the left-handed boxer-puncher managed to secure dominant victories over such prominent names as Monte Barrett, Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson, Malik Scott, Travis Kauffman and Christian Hammer. Most recently, in November 2020, he scored a 45-second save for Alexander Flores.
Charles Martin, originally from St. Louis and now training in Southern California under Manny Robles, defeated Vyacheslav Glazkov via TKO in the third round for the vacant IBF heavyweight title in 2016. After a brief reign , which ended at the hands of Anthony Joshua, the left-hander went 5-1, with a noticeable improvement in style and technique with each subsequent appearance.
Although a former world champion, some can argue that Martin’s breakthrough performance came in his 2018 narrow decision loss to Adam Kownacki, where he put in a tough and gritty performance. Unbeaten in three fights since that loss, he recently knocked out a determined Gerald Washington in six rounds on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury 2 undercard in February 2020.
Ortiz-Martin will pit Ortiz’s skill and cunning against Martin’s power, growing skill set, and unwavering self-confidence. This left-handed vs. left-handed match also features two fighters whose primary offensive weapon is a jarring left-right hand. While Ortiz’s defensive ability and his advantage in overall skill level likely make him the favorite of this meeting, Martin has looked quick and powerful in his recent performances.
Expect a fierce battle of skill and will in this IBF title eliminator with a world title on the line.
In Ortiz’s own words
“I can’t wait to give my South Florida fans a big show on New Years Day and win another heavyweight title shot. Charles Martin is a good fighter, but he stands in my way. The only thing I can think of is getting in the ring and making a big statement in this fight to show again why the heavyweight division sucks me. “
In Martin’s own words
“No one wants to fight me, and no one wants to fight Ortiz, so we’ll fight. I’m going to show the world on January 1 why I deserve a title shot. I have paid my membership fee and I want to get my seat belt back. Beating Ortiz will bring me a little closer to that goal. To become a two-time heavyweight champion I have to pass Ortiz first, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
“ I have paid my membership fee and I want to get my seat belt back. “
Former World Heavyweight Champion – Charles Martin
Frank Sanchez (19-0, 13 KOs) vs. Christian Hammer (26-8, 16 KOs)
Sanchez was a star of the iconic Cuban amateur system and a former Cuban national champion with a record of 214-6 before defecting in 2016. In 2017 he made his professional debut and has since impressed experts with his high-end skills. and his imperturbable ring. behaviour. The 29-year-old “Cuban Flash” is based in Miami but trains in San Diego under Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s coach Eddy Reynoso. Hammer is a late replacement for Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron. The 34-year-old Romanian, who fights outside Germany, has won career victories over David Price and Kevin Johnson, but has been in the ring with big names such as Tyson Fury, Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz. In his last fight, last October, he was forced to retire against Hughie Fury due to a bicep injury.
Jonnie Rice (14-6-1, 10 KOs) vs. Michael Coffie II (12-1, 9 KOs)
Rice, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, entered her first fight with Coffie as a late replacement and decided underdog. He not only came out victorious, but he stopped the heavy-handed former Marine in five rounds. Coffie, who appeared to be on his way to heavyweight stardom ahead of the July loss, will seek to right the mistakes against Rice and regain his place as a burning property of the division.
Gerald Washington (20-4-1, 13 KOs) vs. Ali Eren Demirezen (14-1, 11 KOs)
Washington, the 6-foot-6 former USC college football star, had a rough year in 2020. In February, he was stopped in six rounds by Charles Martin on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury 2 undercard. Then, in July, he was forced to withdraw from his fight with Michael Coffie due to a COVID-19 infection. “El Gallo Negro” is looking to get back to the title race. Demirezen is a 2016 Olympian representing his native Turkey and a former European heavyweight champion as a pro. He’s 3-0 since his only career loss in 2019 to Efe Ajagba and, in his last fight last March, stopped Nikola Milacic in two rounds.
Viktor Faust (8-0, 6 KOs) v Iago Kiladze (27-5-1, 19 KOs)
As an amateur, Faust won gold medals at the 2017 European Championships and the 2019 European Games and was on his way to the 2020 Olympics before deciding to go pro. The 6-foot-5, 29-year-old’s in-ring style and temperament from Svitlovodsk, Ukraine have been compared to longtime heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. Georgian Kiladze, meanwhile, is a well-traveled pro with an entertaining kill-or-be-killed style. The 35-year-old’s most publicized fight to date was a fifth-round loss to Efe Ajagba in 2019 which saw him abandon Nigeria’s top prospect in the third round.
For a closer look at Ortiz vs Martin, check out our Fight Night page.