Deontay Wilder landed a vicious right hand to stop Luis Ortiz in the seventh round Saturday night to retain his heavyweight title and set up a lucrative rematch with Tyson Fury in February.
Wilder’s punch came out of nowhere in a fight he had done little in up until that time. It landed flush on the face of Ortiz, who crumpled to the canvas and was unable to get up at the count of 10.
The sudden ending came after a lackluster first six rounds in which Wilder did little. But the devastating power that has gotten him knockouts in all but two of his fights came through again.
The fight was a rematch of a bout last year when Wilder stopped Ortiz on the 10th round. It set up a Feb. 23 fight against Fury that has already been signed.
Wilder fought cautiously for the first six rounds, which The Associated Press gave to Ortiz. Wilder began to pick up the pace in the seventh round, then caught Ortiz with the right hand that brought the fight to an end at 2:51 of the round.