Vergil Ortiz Jr. is set for his first fight since he was hospitalized in March, and he's not easing his way back into the ring.
The rising star and David Avanesyan have struck a deal for a welterweight fight Aug. 6 on DAZN, sources tell ESPN. The bout will likely land at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, sources said.
Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) was slated to fight Michael McKinson in March, but he fell ill the week of the fight and was hospitalized in Los Angeles. The diagnosis: rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases the damaging protein myoglobin into the blood.
Now recovered, Ortiz is lined up for what appears to be a second consecutive litmus test. Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs) is a hard-charging puncher who has scored six straight stoppages since a TKO loss to Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018. Most notably, Avanesyan scored a sixth-round of TKO of Josh Kelly last year, ending his run as a top prospect.
The 33-year-old from Russia now resides in the U.K. and sits just outside ESPN's Top 10 at 147 pounds. With his penchant for brawling, and Ortiz's relentless pressure style, the Golden Boy Promotions matchup has the makings of a fight-of-the-year contender.
Ortiz, a 24-year-old from Dallas, is coming off his best win yet, an eighth-round TKO of Kavaliauskas in August. Ortiz was hurt in Round 2 but rallied to score five knockdowns en route to the finish. He's rated No. 4 by ESPN at welterweight.
The 12-month layoff will be the longest of Ortiz's career.