Boxing beast's scary KO puts heavyweight stars on notice

With all the focus on Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, this Cuban beast sent a few shockwaves through the heavyweight division over the weekend.

Luis Ortiz moved to 29-1 with 25 KOs after landing a scary left-hand that sent Romanian Razvan Cojanu (16-4) crashing to the canvas in just the second round of their heavyweight bout.

Both fighters were coming off losses in heavyweight world title fights, and Ortiz was fighting for the first time since challenging Deontay Wilder earlier this year.

The 39-year-old wanted to make sure his name would remain in the conversation for a title shot, ad he did just that after decimating Conjanu.

“In my mind, King Kong has not been defeated. I don’t feel I lost against Deontay Wilder,” Ortiz said afterward.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 28: Luis Ortiz of Cuba (black shorts) knocks out Razvan Cojanu of Romania (red shorts) in the second round of their Heavyweight fight at Staples Center on July 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Ortiz was stopped in the 10th round against Wilder despite having the WBC champion out on his feet in the seventh round.

Ortiz has now set his eyes on Joshua, taking a cheeky dig at the British fighter.

“I want to fight Joshua, but he only fights boxers he’s sure he can defeat,” Ortiz said.

“I’m going to ask the government to put me on disability, maybe that way Joshua will fight me.”

None of these heavyweights, including champions Joshua and Wilder, is yet of the quality that were campaigning in the 1990s, when there was a large group of elite heavyweights with considerable depth.

In 1996, for instance, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe, all future Hall of Famers, were at the top of their games. But there were plenty of other quality heavyweights, including Michael Moorer, Andrew Golota, Ray Mercer, David Tua, Oliver McCall and Henry Akinwande. George Foreman, another Hall of Famer, held a heavyweight title belt, but he wasn’t a full-time fighter.

And Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko were just coming into their own as elite fighters.

The division has largely gone barren since, but it has been showing signs of life.

Joshua will defend his belts on Sept. 22 against Alexander Povetkin, a former champion in a battle of Olympic super heavyweight gold medalists. Wilder still doesn’t have a fight scheduled after holding out hope of getting a unification bout with Joshua.

There are a number of young fighters on the rise with potential, meaning the heavyweight division could soon regain its stature as the most prominent in boxing.

“Dynamite” Daniel Dubois of London, who is 8-0 with 8 knockouts, is prominent among them, but the group also includes 2016 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Tony Yoka of France and silver medalist Joe Joyce of the U.K.

In addition to them, undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is expected to move to heavyweight. He will instantly be among the better heavyweights in the world when he does and would provide a stern test for either Wilder or Joshua.

The man Usyk beat last week in the cruiserweight final of the World Boxing Super Series, Murat Gassiev, also has great potential and figures to be a heavyweight within the next year. Gassiev is a murderous puncher who, if he adds 25-30 pounds to his frame, could be a major force at heavyweight.

With Kevin Iole – Yahoo Sports and agencies