By Marc Livitz: Luis "The Real King Kong" Ortiz scored an impressive seventh round TKO victory tonight over Bryant "ByBy" Jennings for the interim WBA heavyweight title at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York. Jennings had his moments earlier this year when he tested then linear heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in Madison Square Garden, yet tonight Ortiz was simply too much and too much of it for him to handle. Ortiz (24-0, 21 KO’s) kept his record perfect with the win and showed his mettle gained through more than 350 amateur fights in Cuba.
Luis connected on a handful of body shots in the opening seconds and Bryant (19-2, 10 KO’s) soon followed with shots upstairs. The reach between the two was equal and Ortiz held the slightest of edges with a one inch difference in height. Midway through the first, Jennings was tagged by a right hook followed by a straight left shot and immediately retreated to the ropes. Bryant was clearly hurt and wisely held on to his southpaw Cuban opponent to buy some time. Less than a minute later, another left put Jennings on wobbly legs as Ortiz was finding the target with relative ease.
In the second, Jennings moved in closer and tried to target the body of Luis, who shortly thereafter connected with a hard right uppercut. Bryant was looking to stay away from Ortiz’s thunderous left at all costs. He gave too much leeway about a minute into the third when as before, "The Real King Kong" Ortiz scored with the left (this time an uppercut) and had "ByBy" Jennings on the ropes and out of sorts. Once again, it didn’t hold as the Philadelphia fighter reestablished his footing. Bryant pushed his way into Luis throughout much of the fourth and through this point, the Cuban defector had easily won rounds one and three with his ability to stun his Philly opponent, who himself answered in the second and fourth with close in action.
Ortiz danced and jabbed in the fifth as he watched Jennings withstand a hard left uppercut with about a minute to go. The sixth was nothing like the previous five. The two men used the ring and traded jabs in a very evenly matched, three minute period. Jennings was digging deep in the seventh. He caught Ortiz with a fine right hook but he didn’t look to capitalize on any possible damage. They leaned into one another at ring’s center in the final minute.
Shots were exchanged until a perfectly timed double left uppercut floored Bryant for the first time in his professional career, who beat the count and appeared visibly frustrated. A right jab from Ortiz set up a short left hook to the chin of Jennings, who stumbled backwards and into the ropes. Luis connected with another left hook which prompted referee Richard Podozki to stop the bout at the 2:41 mark of round seven. Jennings loudly bellowed in protest, but he did not have any control left over his 6’3" frame.
Following the stoppage, Ortiz expressed his desire to face the top fighters in the heavyweight division, while Jennings admitted that his time in the ring as a professional as well as an amateur compared to that of Ortiz was the ultimate difference maker.
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December 19, 2015