If you’re a boxing fan living in the New York City area, circle Saturday, March 3 on your calendar because there are two great boxing events happening in the Big Apple.
The arrival of March gives New Yorkers plenty to get excited about. Opening Day for the New York Mets and New York Yankees is only weeks, not months, away. The threat of major snowstorms is nearly over. And there’s some great boxing to be found.
At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 3, undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) will defend his title against undefeated, hard-punching Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs).
This will be Wilder’s second-consecutive title defense at the Barclays Center as he knocked out Bermane Stiverne in the first round back in November in their rematch. His domination of Stiverne was his most impressive win of his career.
Ortiz was originally scheduled to be Wilder’s opponent on that night. But the fight was scrapped due to Ortiz testing positive for two banned diuretics in September which he and his camp claimed was used to treat high blood pressure.
The 38-year-old Ortiz returned to the ring in December when he knocked out Daniel Martz in the second round. After the fight, Wilder came into the ring to confront Ortiz. Shortly thereafter, a deal was worked out and these two men will finally meet in a sanctioned bout.
If you didn’t know now you know. 2018 is going to be a GREAT year for the #BombZquad and for boxing as a whole. March 3rd baby… it’s going down at @barclayscenter. Me vs Luis Ortiz. @premierboxing @showtimeboxing #WilderOrtiz #2018 pic.twitter.com/7yavJh4ki5
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) January 24, 2018
With a combined 62 knockouts between them, there’s little chance that this fight goes the distance, so the judges may as well stay at home for this one.
On the undercard, fans will also get to see Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) take on Hugo Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs) for the vacant interim WBC middleweight title in what should be an action-packed fight.
But wait, there’s more!
Just a few miles away at the theater at Madison Square Garden, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) will take on IBO light heavyweight champion Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs).
Kovalev rebounded from his two back-to-back defeats at the hands of Andre Ward to knockout Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November at the Theater at MSG to win the vacant WBO title.
The win re-established Kovalev as one of the best fighters in the sport and, pound-for-pound, one of the hardest punchers around.
Despite having just one loss on his resume, Shabransky is not expected to pose any real problems for Kovalev.
But a fight on the undercard will be more competitive as Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) defends his WBA light heavyweight title against Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs).
Bivol is one of the fastest-rising boxers in the sport. Barrera is a very skillful fighter whose lone loss came via decision to Ward. This will be a very competitive fight, with the winner hoping to get a fight with Kovalev later in the year.
With two solid boxing cards in NYC in one night, fight fans have to decide which venue to go to see live boxing action, and which event to DVR. The good news: You can’t go wrong with either one.