Klitschko vs Joshua winner may have his hands fullWritten by Lee Cleveland
On April 29th, heavyweight titans Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua will face each other in a historic boxing match.
Wladimir Klitschko, of course, was the consensus heavyweight champion for several years, amassing the IBF, WBA and WBO belts as well as the prestigious RING Magazine lineal title, before losing to Tyson Fury in November 2015.
Klitschko and Joshua will fight for the the latter's IBF belt and the WBA strap vacated by Tyson Fury who is on a hiatus from boxing due to a serious drug problem.
So who will the winner of Klitschko vs Joshua face?
The answer depends on a number of factors. However, the fella with the most likely shot at the winner is Cuban sensation Luis Ortiz.
The WBA has made it clear Ortiz is its No.1 contender and that the Klitschko vs Joshua winner must face him next.
So what are the WBC, IBF and WBO saying?
It's not clear if they are hellbent on the Klitschko-Joshua winner facing a mandatory. We will soon find out.
Luis Ortiz (27-0-2-NC, 23 KO)
The soon-to-be 38 year old Cuban is probably the last fella a heavyweight star would want to face, especially just after winning a high-profile superfight.
He's big, strong and mean. And most of all, this fighter dubbed 'King Kong' has some serious skills. And did we mention he's a southpaw too?
Luis Ortiz is bad news.
A veteran of a reported 362 amateur fights, Ortiz sported a 343-19 pre professional career record, learning his craft from Cuba's top trainers. And yes, he's bearly 38 but he might as well be 28 because he turned pro in 2010 and has had only 29 pro fights.
Ranked No. 3 in the world in the heavyweight division by BoxRec, the 6'4" Cuban floored tough and durable Tony Thompson (then 40-7, 23 KO) three times with well-timed overhand lefts, winning a sixth round TKO in March 2015.
It was an impressive exhibit for the big southpaw who HBO's Max Kellerman labeled the 'best heavyweight in the world.'
In fact, Luis Ortiz, offensively, may be the closest thing to a young George Foreman since... George Foreman.
He's a sharp ring technician who is incredibly powerful. Whether he can he take a punch like George remains to be seen.
Problem: Since he's not a big name, he's a lot of risk for minimal reward.
Joshua or Klitschko vs Ortiz simply wouldn't generate the fanfare and revenue of a big superfight, but Ortiz would be every bit as threatening to Klitschko and Joshua as the latter two are to each other.
After triumphing in Klitschko vs Joshua, perhaps one of the biggest fights in modern heavyweight history, how is the winner going to motivate himself for an unpopular mack truck named Luis Ortiz?
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.