Deontay Wilder withstood everything that challenger Luis Ortiz could throw at him to retain his heavyweight title.
Ortiz missed his chance when he couldn’t finish off Wilder in the seventh round. And in the 10th, Wilder pounced. He left Ortiz slumped against the ropes for a TKO victory, the 40th of Wilder’s undefeated career, and the 39th knockout.
"A true champion always finds a way to come back, and that's what I did tonight,” said Wilder after retaining his WBC belt. “Luis Ortiz is definitely a crafty guy. He put up a great fight. We knew we had to wear him down. I showed everyone I can take a punch.”
The crowd of 14,069 was the second-largest in BROOKLYN BOXING history at Barclays Center, there to see a long-awaited matchup between two undefeated sluggers. After a cautious start, they did not disappoint.
The action started to pick up with Wilder’s knockdown of the challenger late in the fifth round. In the seventh, it was Ortiz’s turn. He dominated the round, pummeling Wilder against the ropes.
"I almost had him and I think I would've if there were a few more seconds in the round," Ortiz said through a translator. "Wilder was definitely saved by the bell. I thought I had him out on his feet. But you have to give him credit, he weathered the storm."
Ortiz continued the attack in the eighth, but again could not put Wilder on the mat. In the ninth, the champ began to rally back and deliver punishment. In the 10th a succession of right hands staggered Ortiz until an uppercut knocked him down again and the fight was called with 55 seconds left in the round.
"This is a fight I took with great risk so that I could prove to the world that I'm the best,” said Wilder, making his third title defense – of seven overall – in Brooklyn. “We each put on a great performance and I think the fans were happy they were here. I always give the fans in Brooklyn a great fight."
In a rematch for the interim IBF super middleweight belt, Jose Uzcategui earned the victory that slipped away from him on a controversial referee’s decision last May. He dominated Andre Dirrell from the start, staggering him late in the third round and continuing to deliver punishment. With Dirrell defenseless in the eighth, the fight was finally stopped seconds after the ninth round began.
Brooklyn middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchanko defeated Dashon Johnson with a stoppage when Johnson’s corner threw in the towel after six rounds. Long Island’s Alicia Napoleon won a super middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Femke Hermans. 2016 Olympians Gary Antuanne Russell and Richardson Hitchins both delivered stoppages to continue strong starts to their pro careers.