Luis Ortiz knocked out former IBF world champion Charles Martin in a pulsating bout between the two southpaws in Florida on Saturday night.
The 42-year-old had to twice get himself up off the canvas in order to defeat his heavyweight rival, before hitting his opponent with a decisive left-hand punch that Martin could not recover from.
‘Prince’ Martin seemed to just stand there looking lost when he was hit with the crucial punch and within moments, the fight was over. However, the referee’s lack of action has been called into question by plenty of boxing fans who clearly felt he should have done more to protect Martin.
The American started the fight on the front foot and floored Ortiz in the first round with a right hand.
He was winning the fight and even knocked the Cuban fighter down again in an attempt at ending the IBF eliminator early.
Ortiz recovered well, though, and midway through the fight, it was all over.
In the sixth round, the veteran threw an excellent left hand which shocked Martin and immediately he looked all at sea.
Surprisingly, the referee didn’t end the fight at that point, he allowed Ortiz to throw a barrage of follow-up punches which had the American caught up in the ropes.
The Missouri-born competitor came back for more, but Ortiz’s powerful shots sent him down for a second time, which was enough for the referee to call an end to the bout.
The 35-year-old was ahead on all the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage, ahead 48-45 twice and 47-46 also, but that will be of little comfort to Martin.
Martin, who famously has the second-shortest heavyweight title reign in history after his loss to Anthony Joshua in 2016 will have to recover again if he is to ever get another shot at a world title.
The Cuban improves his boxing record to 33 wins and two losses with 28 of those being via knockout, whereas Martin’s record now stands at 28 wins, three losses and one draw.
Ortiz has now put himself in position to possibly become mandatory challenger for Oleksandr Usyk’s belt; the Ukrainian will have to overcome Joshua first, however, in a rematch before that can take place.
But on this evidence, the Cuban is still a man to be reckoned with.