The search for an opponent willing to face heavyweight power-puncher Luis Ortiz is over. Alexander Dimitrenko has stepped up.
According to multiple sources directly involved in the deal, the Dimitrenko camp accepted an offer from Golden Boy Promotions – and HBO has approved the match – on Saturday for Dimitrenko to challenge Ortiz for his interim heavyweight belt on March 5 in the main event of a “Boxing After Dark” card at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C.
Finding an opponent willing to step into the ring to face “The Real King Kong,” a massive-punching Cuban southpaw with good boxing skills, a good chin and a deep amateur background, has proved to be very difficult since he crushed contender Bryant Jennings in a seventh-round knockout on Dec. 19.
Golden Boy Promotions offered the fight to several candidates, including Andy Ruiz, Andrey Fedosov, Carlos Takam, Alexander Ustinov and former world titleholder Bermane Stiverne, but was rebuffed time and again.
Dimitrenko and promoter Greg Cohen, however, accepted the fight. Golden Boy is awaiting a signed contract, but the terms have been agreed to.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs), 36, who lives in Miami, will be defending his interim belt for the second time.
The 6-foot-7, 254-pound Dimitrenko (38-2, 24 KOs), 33, of Russia, has won six fights in a row since suffering an 11th-round knockout to former world title challenger Kubrat Pulev for the vacant European title in May 2012 in Germany. His only other defeat came via majority decision to former world title challenger Eddie Chambers in 2009.
The HBO co-feature on March 5 is slated to be Sadam Ali (22-0, 13 KOs) against Jessie Vargas (26-1, 9 KOs) for a soon-to-be-vacant welterweight world title.