As Deontay Wilder awaits a final ruling from the World Boxing Council on his November 4 title defense, WBN looks at the five frontrunners to step in and replace Luis Ortiz.
Despite ‘The Bronze Bomber’ wanting to continue with the Ortiz bout on the back of the Cuban’s failed drug test, the likeliness is WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, currently in Baku for the 55th Convention, will rule against the American and nominate someone in the top 15 of the rankings.
Ortiz looks set to be thrown out of the fight and face at least a six month ban from competing in WBC fights, with UK contender Dillian Whyte the first to throw his hat into the ring to replace his recent stablemate.
Here, WBN rates those most likely to get the call:
1. Bermane Stiverne – Being number one and mandatory challenger has to count for something, and with Ortiz originally asking for the Haitian-Canadian to step aside, there seems to be only one choice for the WBC to make.
2. Dillian Whyte – ‘The Bodysnatcher’ really wants the fight and is even on board with travelling to the United States for the opportunity. Any chance would depend on Stiverne’s readiness to plough on with a scheduled fight with Dominic Breazeale on the same card.
3. Charles Martin – Wilder’s compatriot and one-time IBF title holder has previous with Showtime and could be seen as a wise pick after making a successful return to action in the past few months.
4. Carlos Takam – Two fights on the spin have the French-Cameroonian in decent shape for any fight with Wilder, although Showtime may not be on board with accepting the 36 year-old as a name contender on US soil.
5. Johann Duhaupas – The ex-WBC silver champion gave Wilder some problems and visibly marked him up the first time they fought, and with two consecutive victories and a knockout win over Robert Helenius to his credit since, the Frenchman has to be in with a shout.
Not considered (8 minus Ortiz):
Andy Ruiz Jr. – Hasn’t fought since losing to Joseph Parker in December.
Dominic Breazeale – Lined up to face Stiverne on November 4.
Lucas Browne – Turned down a fight with Whyte as he wants to plough on with an already scheduled fight in his native Australia.
Mariusz Wach – Pencilled in to fight Jarrell Miller on November 11
Dereck Chisora – Set to challenge for the European title on the same night in Monaco.
Eric Molina – Beaten by Wilder convincingly already.
Agit Kabayel – Defending his EBU belt against Chisora.
Adam Kownacki – Defeated former Wilder foe Artur Szpilka five rounds faster than the champion and would be the sixth consideration on the list.
Kyotaro Fujimoto – Fighting Randall Rayment on the same date in Japan.
The WBC have promised to clear up the Ortiz situation in earnest as a cloud hangs over the former WBA ruler for a second time in recent years.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay