On the heels of Deontay Wilder’s first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale, and with Anthony Joshua set to make his U.S. debut Saturday at Madison Square Garden, the question remains: When will the unbeaten heavyweight champions fight?
For now, we’ll have to keep waiting. On Tuesday night, Wilder announced he signed on for a rematch against Cuba’s Luis Ortiz.
“All my controversial fights must get dealt with ASAP!!” Wilder wrote on Twitter.
One heavyweight fighter in talks for a September card, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to disclose the information, said a Wilder-Ortiz bout would be in Los Angeles.
The site is not finalized, but a Staples Center executive confirmed to The Times that Premier Boxing Champions has holds on dates including Sept. 7.
A second heavyweight who declined to be identified said he’s been told to prepare to fight on the undercard of Wilder-Ortiz. Showtime is expected to televise the bout.
The first Wilder-Ortiz fight in March 2018 was a fight-of-the-year candidate in which Ortiz hammered Wilder with heavy blows and appeared to be near a seventh-round knockout. But Wilder survived and wound up punishing Ortiz (31-1, 26 knockouts) with hard rights in the 10th that led to a technical-knockout triumph that thrilled the Barclays Center and Showtime crowd.
Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) told The Times this month he was content to let three-belt champion Joshua wait. Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs), who will fight replacement foe Andy Ruiz Jr., of Imperial, Calif., Saturday on DAZN, earlier engaged in difficult negotiations with Wilder.
But Joshua said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Tuesday that he’ll seek to step in front of a Wilder-Ortiz rematch by working to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Wilder, should Joshua defeat Ruiz on Saturday. Joshua’s next fight is expected to be in December.
“I’ve just come to the decision it’s important for me and Wilder to sit down man to man and iron out our differences and get this fight made,” Joshua said.
“From promoter to promoter … it’s back and forth, back and forth. We should go direct and see if there’s serious [intent].”
Unbeaten former three-belt heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who fought Wilder to a dramatic draw Dec. 1 at Staples Center, has said he doesn’t foresee a Wilder rematch until 2020. Wilder twice floored Fury, but Fury was widely viewed as the more effective boxer that night.
Fury returns to action June 15 against obscure German Tom Schwarz at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.