Luis “King Kong” Ortiz KOs Charles Martin | Referee’s Judgment Considered Suspect

Image Credit: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

The heavyweight division got a fresh knockout action when top heavyweight Luis “King Kong” Ortiz scored a sixth-round TKO of former heavyweight champion Charles Martin.

The dramatic back-and-forth affair, an IBF Heavyweight Title Eliminator showdown, headlined a Fox Sports PBC pay-per-view. The fight was live from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

King Kong Returns

Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) recovered from two knockdowns to earn the TKO over the former heavyweight titleholder Martin (28-3-1, 25 KOs). The fight got off to a hot start in round 1, with Martin landing a bruising left hand to the side of Ortiz’s head that sent him down late in the frame.

While Ortiz was able to regain his composure and do effective bodywork and snap his jab, Martin struck once again at the end of round 4 landing a stiff jab with his right hand that put Ortiz down for the second time in the fight.

“I was very focused during this fight,” said Ortiz. “I was never worried. My trainer just told me to keep working the jab and that’s what I was able to do.”

Rare Southpaw Showdown

In a battle of towering southpaws, Ortiz landed the left hand that ultimately decided the fight, connecting on a counter early in round 6 that immediately dazed Martin, who looked potentially out on his feet. Ortiz quickly followed up with a flurry and scored the knockdown, leaving Martin with his glove tied up in the ropes.

“It was very difficult going southpaw against southpaw,” said Ortiz. “At the end of the day, my intelligence won the fight.”

Martin rose to his feet and looked to hold on with over two minutes left in the round, but Ortiz was relentless in his attack and eventually forced referee Frank Santore Jr. to wave off the bout 1:37 into round 6.

The Big Comeback

Ortiz trailed on all three scorecards coming into the final round. However, he landed impressively 57 percent power punches in the fight, including 19 of 23 in round 6, according to CompuBox.

“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.”

Deontay Wilder, America’s Champion, Takes Next Test Against Luis Ortiz

However, many were critical of the referee, who witnessed Martin knocked out on his feet and let the fight go further.

C’mon, Ref

In the sixth round, when Ortiz was down 48-45 twice and 47-46 by the judges’ cards, “King Kong” threw an incredible left hand that shocked Martin, and immediately he was dazed.

Deontay Wilder, America’s Champion, Takes Next Test Against Luis Ortiz

The referee didn’t stop Ortiz, who inflicted more damage until Martin hung from the ropes and on the canvas. Ortiz now is in line for the top division and Oleksandr Usyk, who currently has the IBF belt.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.