VERONA, N.Y. -- Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings will challenge Luis Ortiz for his interim belt and is happy that the fight will be contested on an even playing field with both fighters being subjected to random drug testing -- blood and urine -- by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
Philadelphia's Jennings, (19-1, 10 KOs), 31, coming off a decision loss to then-heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in April, will face Ortiz on Saturday night (HBO, 10:15 ET/PT) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino.
The Jennings camp demanded the high-level drug testing because of Ortiz's past.
In September 2014, Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs), 36, a Cuban defector living in Miami, knocked out Lateef Kayode in brutal fashion in the first round to win the same interim title in Las Vegas. However, Ortiz tested positive for a banned steroid after the bout.
Ortiz offered no believable defense during a Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing other than to claim he had eaten contaminated meat. The commission fined and suspended him and the result of the fight was also changed to a no decision. The belt was taken away from him.
Ortiz served his suspension and has won two fights in a row since, including winning the vacant interim belt on Oct. 17 with a third-round knockout of Matias Ariel Vidondo.
"I think it's great," Jennings said of the rigorous drug testing. "The sport needs to keep its integrity. Ortiz is a good fighter but he has already shown that he has some insecurities. When a fighter gets caught cheating while using steroids to get an edge it says a lot about that person.
"He paid his dues and now it's time to fight. With VADA testing installed for this fight, everyone will be on an even playing field."
Gary Shaw, Jennings' promoter, said testing was important to their side when he made the deal with Golden Boy, Ortiz's promoter.
"Bryant Jennings is a vegan; they can test him 24/7," Shaw said. "For the sake of our sport and for the betterment of our sport, we need to drug test everyone all the time and prove to the public that we're a clean sport and that the two warriors that go in there in that ring and sometimes place their life on the line -- and sometimes have given up their life -- are clean.
"And so we are drug testing for this fight, and I wish everyone else in all their fights would drug test. Money is the wrong thing to say that holds back drug testing in boxing.”