The hard-hitting Cuban southpaw rises from the canvas twice to put Martin away in a thrilling heavyweight encounter Saturday night on FOX Sports pay-per-view.
Luis Ortiz looked beaten. The Cuban expatriate had been down twice. He might have been showing the wear and tear of his 42 years. Yet “King Kong” never relinquished his iron will against “Prince” Charles Martin on Saturday night.
One short-circuiting Ortiz left to Martin’s temple led to a sixth-round stoppage victory at 1:37 in a battle of heavyweight southpaws on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
With the IBF title eliminator victory, Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) proves that he remains a viable heavyweight contender. At the time of the stoppage, Martin (28-3-1, 25 KOs) was ahead on all three judge’s scorecards, 48-45 and 47-46 (two).
The math was in Martin’s favor. He felt he was bigger, stronger, faster—and knew he was younger—than Ortiz. It didn’t add up.
“I told you at the start that this was going to be fireworks between me and Martin,” Ortiz said. “He knocked me down twice and at the end I finished him. I do respect him a lot. I was definitely very focused for this fight. I was never worried. My corner, German [Caicedo, Ortiz’s trainer] was telling me to keep working the jab, which is what I did.”
With 1:26 left in the first round, Martin, 36, wound up on the canvas, which was ruled a slip by referee Frank Santore Jr. Martin had not yet landed a punch Ortiz, when a hard overhand left caught Ortiz behind his ear, as he was ducking, knocking the Cuban down with :56 left in the first.
Feeling confident, Martin engaged Ortiz in the first 20 seconds of the second round. With 1:14 left in the second, Ortiz popped Martin with a counter left to Martin’s left jaw. Another left forced Martin back to the ropes, though it appeared Ortiz was moving gingerly.
By the fourth, Ortiz had become the stalker, backing up Martin. Ortiz connected on a few body shots in the last minute of the fifth, and just when it looked like Ortiz would win the round, Martin dropped Ortiz for a second time with a power jab to his face.
What changed the fight was an Ortiz left to Martin’s early in the sixth round. Martin was out on his feet, inviting Ortiz to bore in and slam the defenseless Martin, whose left glove got caught between the ropes as he fell. When Santore got Martin free, Ortiz finished the wobbly Martin at 1:37.
"I maintained faith the entire time,” said Ortiz. “I knew I had my family and these fans behind me. I told everyone that this fight would be fireworks. He knocked me down, but then I finished him. I respect him a lot and now I’m coming after every heavyweight in line for the title.”
Frank Sanchez easily outpoints Christian Hammer
Rising unbeaten heavyweight Frank Sanchez did what he was supposed to do against Christian Hammer, a late substitute for Carlos Negron, who came down with COVID-19. The 29-year-old “Cuban Flash” comfortably won a 10-round unanimous decision over Hammer by 100-89 scores.
Sanchez (20-0, 13 KOs) was in cruise control, winning round-after-round. Hammer, to his credit, stayed competitive. He never did anything that threatened Sanchez, who seemed content on throwing one punch at a time.
In between the seventh and eighth rounds, Sanchez’s trainer, Eddie Reynoso, told him to step it up. In the first minute of the ninth, Sanchez tagged Hammer (26-9, 16 KOs) with a right and left to the body. Sanchez came out and attacked at the outset of the 10th, but again, and seemed to knock down Hammer in the last round.
“I feel very happy,” Sanchez said. “Starting out the year like this with another win in front of all the Cuban fans here in Miami is amazing. I felt very happy, very proud. Now we are going for more.”
Jonnie Rice beats Michael Coffie again
Jonnie Rice was out to prove his career-defining victory over previously undefeated Michael Coffie back in July was not a fluke. Coffie had a chance at redemption in a rematch to prove otherwise.
Rice was right.
Despite being 15 pounds heavier than he was in July, Rice pounded Coffie once again, winning by a 10-round unanimous decision.
Rice (15-6-1, 10 KOs) easily won, 97-93 twice and 99-91.
“The key to victory was my mom,” Rice said. “My mom texted me and called me and told me tonight was going to be a test of my endurance. You have to always trust your mom. This changes my life; I can quit my job. I'm watching everybody in the heavyweight division. I'm watching everybody and I'm ready for any of them.”
After a lethargic start by both fighters, Rice hit the canvas near the end of the second, but referee Chris Young called it a slip. Both fighters picked it up in the fourth, when Rice landed a right to the side of Coffie’s head with 1:48 left in the round, which wobbled Coffie. Rice followed it up with a pair of rights, and Rice seemed to punch himself out.
Coffie (12-2, 9 KOs) fought his way off the ropes, and for a moment, the two exchanged blows. Then the two caught their breath. With 1:52 left in the fifth, they both seemed to take a rest. Coffie had his hands up, though stood a few feet away from Rice, who had his hands down by his sides.
Working out of a southpaw stance, Coffie took a pounding from Rice with 1:22 left in the sixth. Stuck in the corner, Rice slammed Coffie with four rights and did nothing to fight back. Coffie’s left eye began to swell, with a small cut opening in the corner of his left eye.
By the 10th, Coffie’s face was a mess. He had cuts over and under his left eye.
“No excuses from me, he was the better fighter tonight,” Coffie said. “I couldn't see out of my left eye for the last third of the fight. It is what it is. It happens.”
Ali Eren Demirezen notches a big victory over Gerald Washington
Ali Eren Demirezen needed to continue his ride. Entering the Gerald Washington fight, Demirezen had a three-fight winning streak since losing a decision to Efe Ajagba in July 2019. Demirezen wanted to move forward—and Washington was in the way.
Washington needed this, too. The heavyweight veteran was 2-4 over his previous last six fights, though those four setbacks came against the likes of then-WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, heavyweight contender Jerrell Miller, Adam Kownacki and former IBF heavyweight champ Charles Martin.
After a great start, Washington began tapering off midway through the fight and Demirezen walked him down and stopped him at :27 in the eighth round of a scheduled 10-rounder.
“We prepared very well for this fight,” Demirezen said. “I knew that I was going to go out there and get a dominating victory. I'm very happy and proud of my performance tonight. This is a great night for my country of Turkey.
“This is my dream. I'm going to keep fighting the U.S. and become a world champion. I'm going to take it fight by fight and keep winning. I'm here to stay.”
Demirezen (15-1, 12 KOs) won for the fourth-straight time. The 39-year-old Washington had no legs by the eighth. His mouth was open gulping air. His hands were low after throwing a punch. His energy level looked depleted. Both eyes were swollen.
By the sixth, Washington (20-5-1, 13 KOs) could barely keep Demirezen off of him. In the last minute of the round, Washington fell backward, which referee Frank Santore Jr. called a slip. But he had nothing left, which his corner recognized when Buddy McGirt, Washington’s trainer, ended it early in the eighth.
Viktor Faust outlasts Iago Kiladze in an instant classic
The year 2022 was barely a day old, and boxing kicked things off with a bang from Viktor Faust and Iago Kiladze. With 2:22 left in the first round of their scheduled eight-rounder, Faust (9-0, 7 KOs) dropped Kiladze with a left hook to the face off a right hand. Moments later, Kiladze dropped Faust for the first time in his career with a blunt, counter right to the chin. They weren’t through—19 seconds later, a quick, left hook dropped Kiladze against the ropes a second time.
Kiladze had a blood trinkling from the bridge of his nose, when he attacked Faust, who was scrambling to stay on his feet.
It was the first round of the year—and it was memorable.
And they still weren’t done. Kiladze (30-6, 11 KOs) knocked down Faust a second time just 27 into the second, with an overhand right, which opened a small cut on the corner of Faust’s left eyebrow. With 1:28 left in the second, Faust knocked down Kiladze a third time with a right (and fifth total knockdown in the fight), when referee Samuel Burgos ended it at 1:44 of the second.
As Burgos motioned to Kiladze to come forward, he wobbled, which was enough for Burgos to wave it over. Kiladze shoved Burgos, after he ended it. He then left the ring in disgust.
“I felt very confident in the fight,” Faust said. “This was a great win for my career. The stoppage was definitely unexpected, but from the way things were going, it was inevitable. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I'm proud of this victory today.
“I'm happy that the boxing fans got to see me perform on this stage. I'm going to keep improving and showing everyone what I'm capable of.”
Frank Martin scores sensational stoppage over Romero Duno
Unbeaten lightweight sensation Frank Martin passed another big test with flying corners. Martin easily dispatched hard-hitting veteran Romero Duno, dropping him twice in the fourth round to earn the TKO at 2:54 of the round.
Martin (15-0, 11 KOs) used his speed, movement and boxing skills from the southpaw stance to easily control the first three rounds. Duno picked up the attack in the fourth round--and met his end. Midway through the frame, Martin leaned back from a long Duno right and stepped in with a perfect left hand counter, sending Duno crashing to the canvas.
Duno rose, still hurt, but ready to go. Martin took his time, maneuvering him toward the ropes where he countered another right with his own, more powerful right. Duno hit the deck once again. He was badly hurt when he rose which convinced referee Frank Santore Jr. to stop the fight.
For a closer look at Ortiz vs Martin, check out our fight night page.