Heavyweight boxer Luis Ortiz submitted a positive test for two banned diuretics, it was announced Friday, likely scrapping his world-title fight against champion Deontay Wilder on Nov. 4 in New York.
Cuba’s Ortiz (27-0, 23 knockouts) was found to have used chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide in a test collected by the Nevada-based Voluntary Anti Doping Assn. The substances are banned for their masking effects on performance-enhancing drugs.
The news is a crushing blow to World Boxing Council champion Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), who had paid step-aside money to mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne to pursue the anticipated showdown with Ortiz at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Previously, Wilder’s attempt to fight Russia’s top contender, former title challenger Alexander Povetkin, was undone by Povetkin’s performance-enhancing drug use.
“It’s unfathomable how this guy has been victimized by performance-enhancing drug use,” Wilder promoter Lou DiBella told the Los Angeles Times on Friday morning.
“Ortiz was the guy all you guys [reporters] considered the toughest guy. Deontay was doing it for pride, for his reputation. It wasn’t for the money. It was because all you guys said he was ‘King Kong,’ ” which is Ortiz’s nickname.
“This was a real old-school move, spending money to show people who he really was, to tell everyone, ‘I’m the man.’ ”
Stiverne’s management team and promoter Don King reached out to DiBella after Wilder paid more than $600,000 to pursue Ortiz instead.
Wilder became WBC champion in January 2015 by defeating Stiverne by a wide unanimous decision.
Now that Ortiz is off the card — pending the result of his “B” sample — the step-aside fee doesn’t apply and Stiverne returns to his mandatory position. He was in talks to fight Southern California heavyweight Dominic Breazeale this fall.
A Wilder victory over Stiverne would move him closer to an anticipated 2018 title-unification showdown against unbeaten two-belt champion Anthony Joshua of England, who meets Kubrat Pulev on Oct. 25 in Cardiff, Wales.