Luis Ortiz is being lined up to face the winner of Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko's mouth-watering world title showdown in 2017. The Cuban has been installed as the mandatory challenger for the vacant WBA 'Super' belt, which will be on the line alongside the IBF crown when Joshua and Klitschko clash on 29 April at Wembley Stadium.
The 37-year-old has won each of his 27 professional fights, last beating David Allen in Manchester on the undercard of Joshua's knock-out victory over Eric Molina. Ortiz is ranked number one in the WBA rankings. The 'Super' title has been vacant since Tyson Fury relinquished the belt in October after admitting to taking cocaine.
In an effort to unify a division which has two championships, the eventual victor from Joshua, Klitschko and Ortiz will advance to challenge for the WBA 'regular' crown. Shannon Briggs remains in contention to compete for a second world title despite having his match with Lucas Browne cancelled due to the Australian committing an anti-doping violation
Alexander Ustinov and Fres Oquendo, who sandwich Briggs in the current WBA standings, are also being considered to fight for the vacant title, which the WBA are due to make a decision over after Christmas.
"We have a commitment with Oquendo, Briggs and Ustinov at this point; the committee will decide soon by Monday or Tuesday which way that will go," WBA president Gilberto J Mendoza told Fightnews.com. "We're trying to decide who goes first. Whoever is left out will be the mandatory.
"What is decided is the super champion was going to be fought by Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, which is a good fight for the public. The winner will have to face Ortiz, that what we're working on that side. We heard his side. I then have to set deadlines for Johsua, Klitschko and Ortiz so it's going to take more time than I expected to clean out the division. It might be unpopular but that is how boxers are."