Four months after losing to WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in the main event of a Showtime-televised boxing card, Luis Ortiz is ready to get back into the ring.
Ortiz will make his return on the undercard of the Mikey Garcia vs. Robert Easter Jr. lightweight title unification, scheduled to take place on July 28 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Ortiz will be fighting 11-year pro Joe Hanks on the undercard, though it is not certain if the fight will be a part of the televised portion of the card, which will be shown on Showtime.
Hanks has fought professionally since 2007 and amassed a 22-2 record. Hanks started his career with 21 consecutive wins, mostly against low-level opposition. His first major test as a pro came against eventual heavyweight title challenger Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2013. Ruiz scored a TKO win over Hanks to win the vacant WBO Intercontinental title. Hanks then fought Derric Rossy in 2014, which also resulted in Hanks losing. Hanks would not fight for more than two-and-a-half years and returned last December with a win over Joel Caudle.
The 39-year-old Ortiz has been among the heavyweight division's elite for years, but rarely got a world title opportunity. Ortiz was supposed to fight Wilder last year, but a VADA violation made by Ortiz put a stop to the fight. The two heavyweight knockout artists eventually met this past March, when Wilder stopped Ortiz in the 10th round to retain his title.
Ortiz was originally supposed to fight Dillian Whyte in a WBC title eliminator, but Whyte decided to walk away from the fight so that he can fight former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker on a boxing card at the O2 Arena, which also happens to be taking place on July 28.