Exclusive: Ortiz to face Thompson in non-title bout, defeat would hand Ustinov mandatory status

Gilberto Mendoza has informed WBN that Luis Ortiz will lose his interim WBA title status should he be defeated by Tony Thompson on March 5.

This is despite the fact that the Cuban has not been allowed to put his belt on the line in an official capacity as Thompson is unranked by the organisation.

WBN broke the news earlier this month that the fight was ‘highly unlikely’ to be sanctioned by the WBA, although special permission has been given for Golden Boy Promotions to keep Ortiz v Thompson as a twelve round contest.

“Luis Ortiz v Tony Thompson is a non-title fight by the way of a special permit,” Mendoza exclusively told World Boxing News on Thursday.

“Golden Boy Promotions have decided to keep the fight as a twelve round special event, but If Ortiz loses to Thompson, then his interim recognition will be withdrawn.

“Alexander Ustinov would then become the mandatory challenger for the Tyson Fury versus Wladimir Klitschko rematch winner.”

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Frank Warren-promoted Ustinov accepted an offer from the WBA to face Ortiz for the interim belt but was too late to feature on next month’s card at the DC Amory in Washington.

The tall Russian will now aim to secure his chance in what will effectively be a final eliminator for Fury v Klitschko II should Ortiz come through Thompson as expected without any incident in a fortnight’s time.

Ortiz v Ustinov is part of the WBA’s recently announced heavyweight tournament to crown one sole champion in the top division and also includes Ruslan Chagaev v Lucas Browne, which takes place on the same night, and mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo.