Ortiz topples Thompson, Vargas halts Ali
Unbeaten heavyweight Luis Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs) stopped two-time world title challenger Tony Thompson (40-7, 27 KOs) in the 6th round on Saturday night at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C.
The 36-year-old Ortiz, nicknamed “The Real King Kong,” knocked down his opponent three times en route to a dominant knockout win.
Cuban-born Ortiz, now based in Miami, dropped Thompson with an overhand left in the first round and the American barely beat the count.
Ortiz connected with more hard, accurate punches and sent Thompson to the canvas again in the third.
Thompson, a 44-year-old southpaw, looked slow and he was not in good condition having took the fight on three weeks' notice. He was hardly landing anything and in the 6th, another overhand left to the head floored Thompson again and he was counted out.
"He’s a fighter with a lot of experience," said Ortiz. "My corner told me to be patient and just to take my time. You still haven’t seen the best of King Kong. I’m ready for anyone."
Ortiz holds the WBA interim title, although this was a non-title fight. This was a way to stay busy for Ortiz after other heavyweights had turned down the fight.
Ortiz stopped former world title challenger Bryant Jennings in the 7th round in December to retain the belt for the first time. He has a mandatory defence due by June 19 against Russian Alexander Ustinov and Golden Boy Promotions are hoping to agree on a fight with Ustinov and his promoter Frank Warren for the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan undercard on May 7 in Las Vegas.
Also on the card, Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) halted previously unbeaten Sadam Ali (22-1, 13 KOs) in the 9th round to win the vacant WBO welterweight title.
Both fighters landed hard shots throughout the first half of the fight, but Vargas caught his fellow American with an overhand right that dropped Ali at the end of the 8th. He made it out of the round but was still on shaky legs in the 9th, and Vargas piled on the punches until referee Kenny Chevalier jumped in and stopped the fight.
"I tore him apart piece by piece," said Vargas. "I was patient. I looked for openings and when I had the openings I fired the shots."
With the win, former WBA light welterweight Champion Vargas becomes a two-weight world champion.
Previous WBO champion Tim Bradley, who outpointed Vargas last June, had a mandatory defence due against Ali, but he instead opted for a more lucrative third fight with Manny Pacquiao and relinquished the title.
"I want Bradley, win or lose (against Pacquiao)," said Vargas. "We have unfinished business."