Deontay Wilder has claimed that upcoming opponent Luis Ortiz is the toughest fighter he has faced in the ring, despite being held to a draw by Tyson Fury in his last fight.
Wilder last faced Ortiz in March 2018, triumphing over the then-unbeaten Cuban via a vicious TKO in the 10th round.
Despite the spectacular stoppage, however, 'The Bronze Bomber' was left in real trouble for large sections of the fight, with Ortiz having bombarded Wilder for the seventh round, and appearing to have the taller man within seconds of hitting the canvas.
Wilder managed to cling on however, and responded in brutal fashion - ending the fight three rounds later with a trademark right uppercut - whilst also being ahead on all three judges' scorecards 85-84.
In December of the same year, Wilder also came head-to-head with long-term rival Tyson Fury, with both men claiming they would prove to the world that they were in fact the heavyweight division's head honcho.
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Despite dropping Fury twice across the 12 rounds - including a spectacular knockdown in the final round which left Fury flat on his back for near the full 10-second count - the fight was ruled a split draw to both men's surprise and protestations.
Amidst the immediate clamour for a rematch, Wilder controversially instead opted to face 'King Kong' Ortiz once again, and the Alabama-born fighter has now seemingly added some context to this decision.
When asked to compare his two most recent opponents, Wilder sang the praises of Ortiz, and reaffirmed his belief once again that he is the division's most-avoided man.
"Who is tougher in the ring, Luis Ortiz or Tyson Fury? I'd have to say Luis Ortiz.
"Ortiz is a smart fighter, he moves strategically in the ring, he's a great counter-puncher as well. I like his style as a Cuban. Nobody in the top ten wanted to fight Ortiz and they still don't 'til this day".
Alongside the likes of Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Povetkin, Ortiz has frequently been labelled too much of a risk for the sport's elite to face off against - due to his stellar record but lack of international promotional appeal.
Wilder dismissed any criticism aimed at him for his choice however, and gave fans his view of how he will have to prepare, heading into the bout.
"He keeps you on the edge of your seat, you've definitely gotta really plan what you're gonna do. Have your next move because when you're punching he's coming back with something just like that.
"You've definitely gotta have co-ordination, you've gotta have timing on point, and you definitely have to have some type of speed with you".News Now - Sport News