VERONA, N.Y. -- Tyson Fury's massive upset of long-reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on Nov. 28 turned boxing's glamour division on its ear as he wrested control of it after a decade in Klitschko's iron grip.
Fury is now the champ -- although he is headed to a rematch with Klitschko next -- while others look to make the case that they are the best.
TV lineup for Golden Boy's card Saturday on HBO (10:15 p.m. ET/PT) and HBO Latino (approximately 12:15 a.m. ET/PT) from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.:
Heavyweights: Luis Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) vs. Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs), 12 rounds, for Ortiz's interim title
Junior lightweights: Nicholas Walters (26-0, 21 KOs) vs. Jason Sosa (18-1-3, 14 KOs), 10 rounds
*Light heavyweights: Yunieski Gonzalez (16-1, 12 KOs) vs. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (14-0, 12 KOs), 10 rounds
*Middleweights: Gabriel Rosado (21-9, 13 KOs) vs. Joshua Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs), 10 rounds
*Lightweights: Yuriorkis Gamboa (24-1, 17 KOs) vs. Hylon Williams Jr. (16-1-1, 3 KOs), 10 rounds
*HBO Latino fight on slight tape delay
There is titleholder Deontay Wilder, who defends his belt against Artur Szpilka next month. Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov and Charles Martin will soon duke it out for one of the belts unceremoniously stripped from Fury 10 days after he beat Klitschko. And there are others such as veterans Alexander Povetkin and up-and-comer Anthony Joshua hoping to make an impact.
But next up in the heavyweight spotlight are interim titlist Luis Ortiz and Bryant Jennings, who meet in a toss-up fight Saturday night (HBO, 10:15 p.m. ET/PT) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino, where both are looking to make a statement in a suddenly wide-open division.
"The heavyweight division is starting to heat up, and a big reason will be on (Saturday)," said Eric Gomez, vice president of Ortiz promoter Golden Boy Promotions.
In the co-feature, former featherweight titlist Nicholas "Axe Man" Walters (26-0, 21 KOs), 29, of Jamaica, moves up to junior lightweight to Jason Sosa (18-1-3, 14 KOs), 27, of Camden, New Jersey, in a meeting of power punchers.
"This is a big fight for the heavyweight division," said Jennings, who will be fighting for the first time since giving Klitschko a good go in a decision loss on April 25. "The winner will move on to bigger and better things. With Klitschko losing to Fury, the heavyweight division is wide open.
"There are a lot of hungry fighters out there ready to take charge and I'm one of them. I know I got what it takes to become a world champion. The heavyweight division is mine to be conquered."
Jennings said the loss to Klitschko was a valuable learning experience that he will build off of against Ortiz.
"Some of the greatest fighters in history have a loss, and I think that loss for me wasn't a real loss. That 'L' I'm saying wasn't a loss; it was a learn," Jennings said. "It was a learning experience for me. It's something that it teaches you how to feel when you're defeated. But you still want to win, so that actually makes it more dangerous. I learned so much from the Klitschko fight like mentally and about life, about things, about people, about the business.
"Everyone says (Ortiz) has a lot of power but his opposition is suspect. He's a big slugger and I'm a boxer that gives a lot of movement. I believe I'm the one with the better skills and better pro experience. I'm winning this fight."
Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs), 31, of Philadelphia, who comes into the fight having parted ways with trainer Fred Jenkins and moving his training camp to Florida to work with John David Jackson, watched Klitschko-Fury. He was entirely unimpressed like most who saw it.
"I watched the fight live and I was throwing up," Jennings said. "It was, 'Oh my God, it was the worst fight in the heavyweight history.' I swear to God it was the worst fight in heavyweight championship history."
It was a difficult fight to watch and Gary Shaw, Jennings' promoter, said Saturday's fight will be far more crowd-pleasing.
"It's going to definitely be more entertaining," Shaw said. "I believe Bryant's going to win this fight, but even if Ortiz won the fight, either Ortiz or Bryant would beat Tyson Fury. It shows you the state of where Klitschko is."
Editor's Picks Jennings, Ortiz undergoing VADA drug testing Walters looks to make big impression at 130 pounds Former featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters believes he can still make 126 pounds for the right opponent. Until then he'll bide his time at junior lightweight on Saturday against Jason Sosa. 1 Related
Former featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters believes he can still make 126 pounds for the right opponent. Until then he'll bide his time at junior lightweight on Saturday against Jason Sosa.
Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs), 36, a bull-strong Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, won the vacant interim belt by blasting out no-hoper Matias Ariel Vidondo in three rounds Oct. 17 on the Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux undercard. The bout was his third since a first-round knockout of Lateef Kayode to win the interim belt in 2014 in a result that was erased after Ortiz tested positive for a banned steroid and was fined and suspended. He has put the incident behind him and has his own designs on taking over the division.
"This is the new era of the heavyweight division, and I am in the running to become the best in the world," said Ortiz, who is a southpaw. "I feel like I have the conditioning to become a world champion. I have the power, speed and intelligence in the ring.
"I am ready physically and mentally for this fight, and I am going to come out to destroy my opponent. I have not been able to show off my condition and preparation in my last few fights, and this is my opportunity to show the world that I am the best. I have been ready for a world championship fight for three years and am ready for to go 15 rounds if needed. I'm coming for that No. 1 spot. I didn't come over here from Cuba to sit back and not work."
Jennings, however, took a shot at Ortiz's thin resume.
"This is Ortiz's first fight, this is his first real fight," he said. "If you go down the line of his resume then you will see no other fighter that could even come close to a person of my stature, so this is Ortiz's first real fight as a professional.
"He hasn't faced nobody like me. Which one of (the) top 10 fighters that he fought, and I will wait. I can wait, I will wait until 5:00, just name me one. I will wait. He hasn't. So this guy has to humble himself."
Whomever wins will put himself in a great position in the suddenly up-for-grabs division.
"(The fight) features two talented individuals in the heavyweight division, two top-ranked individuals, and it just brings a different type of attention because people will say, 'OK, well the (Klitschko-Fury) fight was BS so let's see with these guys have going, because these are the next guys up.'
"And you know I'm quite sure that they are definitely going to see something and I'm hoping that Ortiz definitely backs up everything that he says to be able to bring the tough fight. We're going to put on a show and make sure that either one of us -- win, lose, or draw -- would be a main attraction and all that momentum from the BS from (Klitschko-Fury) will shift to us as a positive momentum."