The WBA has sent the proposed Luis Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs) and Alexander Usitnov (33-1, 24 KOs) bout to a purse bid since both parties have failed to negotiate an agreement. The interested parties are required to submit a sealed envelope with a cashiers check identifying the promoter and the amount to the WBA’s offices in Panama City by the 19th of May.
Ustinov is 39 years old and he has been in negotiations with Ortiz for some time now. Ustinov is a Russian who fights out of Belarus and has built his record up over the years against average and past their prime competition. He fought once in the United States in a four rounder back in 2008 and many may recall he took a fight with Tyson Fury on short notice, only to have Fury cancel the fight after the weigh-ins. The lone loss of his career came in September of 2012 when he lost to Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev.
As for Ortiz, the big Cuban slugger has quickly earned a reputation as being a dangerous fighter that no one wants to fight. He off-handedly told reporters “That Russian has been avoiding me for a while now, like every one else” when asked about the purse bid announcement.
The WBA will receive the purse bids in Panama and then a date for the fight will be set. The normal process calls for the fight to occur within 90 days of the May 19 purse bid but an extension can be issued if the winning bid can justify an extension. Ortiz will likely be willing to travel to Russia or Belarus to fight as he wants to stay active. Ortiz is in a groove where his promoter, Golden Boy, has had him fighting every few months.
A match between Ustinov and Ortiz has also been declared a “title eliminator” by the IBF and could put the winner in line to face Anthony Joshua, a fight that both men would love.