Big hitters collide on August 10 as Bohachuk defends against Vergil Ortiz Jr

VERGIL Ortiz Jr will look to place his slightly wobbly career back on track when he takes on WBC Interim super-welterweight champion Serhii Bohachuk.

While Ortiz was originally slated to fight Tim Tszyu as part of the August 3 Madrimov-Crawford support card, this fight, at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, takes place a week later as a standalone main event and show.

The Tszyu fight was an intriguing prospect, given that Tim was taking on such a tough challenge shortly after losing his unbeaten record to Sebastian Fundora. The terrible scalp wound that Tszyu received from Fundora’s errant elbow had yet to heal sufficiently, and doctors ruled the Aussie out.

Left without a dance partner, Vergil, 21-0 (21 KOs), was swiftly paired with Ukraine’s Bohachuk, 24-1 (23 KOs), who also fought on the Tszyu-Fundora card, defeating Brian Mendoza for the title that he now defends on August 10. 

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 30: Serhii Bohachuk waits for the start of a WBC interim super welterweight title fight against Brian Mendoza at T-Mobile Arena on March 30, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bohachuk won the title by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

The bout was initially floated as a direct replacement on August 3 but was reportedly turned down by the Saudi promoters. Undeterred, promoter Oscar De La Hoya decided to run with it himself.

There are a few storylines at play here. Firstly, both men are recognised bangers. De La Hoya believes it won’t go the distance, and he’s probably correct in that assumption.

Another factor is Ortiz’s ongoing health issues that curtailed his on-again-off-again saga of non-fights with Eimantos Stanionis. Putting those struggles down to the weight, Ortiz eventually moved up to 154, where he now contests this WBC Interim strap.

Interestingly, despite recording back-to-back first-round KOs of Fredrick Lawson and Thomas Dulorme, respectively, after a lengthy ring absence, Vergil has yet to actually make the 154-pound weight limit.

Weighing in at 156 and then 155, he’s getting closer by the pound in each fight. Both were non-title affairs, so likely there are no concerns here, but, given his past, it’s something to keep half an eye on.

As for Bohachuk, the Ukrainian has earned his place at the world title table the hard way. Now based in LA and promoted by Tom Loeffler, who guided Gennady Golovkin through his pomp, Serhii has overcome a single career defeat, residency issues regarding his right to fight, and the ongoing politics surrounding the Russia-Ukraine conflict to enter the heftier payday bracket.

Getting punched in the head by Vergil Ortiz Jr, considered one of the sport’s rising heavy-handed stars, is most likely a welcome relief from everything else that life has thrown at him.

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