A mountain of a man, Luis Ortiz has a lethal combination of punching power, technical skills and physical gifts. He stands 6’4 but possesses a Sonny Liston-esque 84-inch reach that gives him deceptive range. Far from a wild brawler, he is a smart, efficient tactician who manages to dispatch his opponents without taking much punishment.
Born on March 29, 1979 in Camagüey, Cuba, Ortiz honed his craft on the Cuban National Team, where he built up a very impressive amateur record. Some reports suggest that he ended his amateur career with a record of 343-19. Despite that, he didn’t quite break through on the world stage, with his best result likely being his gold at the 2005 Panamerican Championships.
He was 30 years old when he made his professional debut on February 16, 2010 against Lamar Davis. It didn’t last long, as he took out Davis in the first round by TKO. His next fight was another TKO victory, this one in the fourth round against Charles Davis. A few months later, he won the WBC FECARBOX heavyweight title when he defeated Kendrick Releford by unanimous decision after eight rounds.
After running his record to 10-0 with most of those wins coming by KO or TKO, Luis Ortiz got a shot at the WBA Fedelatin heavyweight title. He put on another strong performance when he knocked out Luis Andres Pineda in the sixth round. Four fights later, he was facing Epifanio Mendoza for the WBC and WBO Latino heavyweight titles. He controlled the fight from the opening bell until round seven, when his opponent got disqualified for an intention blow below the belt.
While Ortiz was facing primarily journeymen and past-their-prime fighters, he was taking care of business by getting finishes. His boxing ability was evident to every observer, and he was clearly confident in the ring, no doubt due to his hundreds of amateur fights. He has a relaxed punching style, which enables him to throw powerful punches without loading up, and while he has killer instinct, he doesn’t chase the knockout. His footwork is also very smooth for a heavyweight.
After another four finishes, he fought Joseph Rabotte, who had lost 10 consecutive fights at the time. The bout was originally ruled a third-round KO for Luis Ortiz, but was later turned into a no contest when it was determined that Rabotte actually fell out of the ring.
With two impressive KOs, Ortiz got a shot at the WBA interim heavyweight title on September 11, 2014. He destroyed Lateef Kayode by TKO in the very first round, but he didn’t keep the belt for long, as he failed a drug test, which changed the result of the fight to a no contest.
He got back into action nine months later after his suspension was up and scored a first-round TKO win over Byron Polley. He then proceeded to win back that WBA interim heavyweight title when he knocked out Matias Ariel Vidondo in the third round. Three fights later he added the WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title to his collection with a unanimous decision win over Malik Scott.