Former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz was pulled from Sunday’s main event in Ontario, a day after he was charged with rape in Ventura County, Premier Boxing Champions announced Wednesday.
Ortiz, 31, was scheduled to fight former 140-pound title challenger John Molina Jr. of LaVerne, but PBC opted to leave both fighters off the card and elevate a featherweight bout between unbeaten Brandon Figueroa and veteran Oscar Escandon to the main event.
A PBC spokesman said the organization “couldn’t find a suitable opponent on short notice” for Molina.
“He’s going to appear on a future card soon,” the spokesman added since PBC is stacked with high-caliber welterweights.
Sunday’s new co-main event at Citizens Business Bank Arena will be England’s 2016 Olympic super-heavyweight Joe Joyce in a heavyweight bout against Iago Kiladze (26-3, 18 knockouts). The unbeaten Joyce trains in Big Bear under Gennady Golovkin’s cornerman, Abel Sanchez.
Due in Ventura County Superior Court for his first hearing Oct. 10, Ortiz, 31, confronts three felony charges of sexual assault on an adult woman for an incident that Oxnard police allege occurred in the city on March 19.
Ortiz reigned as welterweight champion in 2011 after beating Andre Berto in a slugfest. He then lost his belt later that year to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. by fourth-round knockout.
Ortiz appeared on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars and in the Sylvester Stallone film, “The Expendables 3,” but has struggled to match the talent he showed while rising to the title, going 3-3-1 since the Mayweather defeat.
Sunday’s card will now be led by the 21-year-old Figueroa (16-0, 11 KOs), the brother of former lightweight champion Omar Figueroa.
Escandon, 34, is 25-4 with 17 knockouts. A former Olympian from Colombia, he was defeated by World Boxing Council featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. in a 2017 title fight.