Eight months after he nearly knocked out Luis Ortiz, Charles Martin will return to the ring on Ortiz’s undercard.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the former IBF heavyweight champion has been added to the non-televised portion of the pay-per-view card that’ll feature Ortiz and Andy Ruiz Jr. in the main event September 4 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Martin (28-3-1, 25 KOs) is scheduled to face Devin Vargas (22-7, 9 KOs) in a 10-round fight designed to keep Martin busy while he pursues a bigger fight.
The 6-foot-5, 246-pound Martin, a strong southpaw from Carson, California, will fight for the first time since he dropped Ortiz twice in a fight that headlined a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event January 1 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Ortiz overcame those two knockdowns – one apiece in the first and fourth rounds – and sent Martin to the canvas twice in the sixth round.
Referee Frank Santore Jr. stopped their scheduled 12-round fight at 1:36 of the sixth round, several seconds after Martin reached his feet from the second knockdown.
Though he lost, the 36-year-old Martin became just the second opponent to knock down Ortiz in the Cuban southpaw’s 12-year pro career.
Deontay Wilder was the only fighter to have previously floored Ortiz – three times in their first fight and once in their rematch. Wilder won both of those WBC championship matches inside the distance – by 10th-round technical knockout in March 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and seventh-round knockout in November 2019 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 40-year-old Vargas, a 2004 U.S. Olympian from Toledo, Ohio, will fight for the first time since Chinese contender Zhang Zhilei (24-1-1, 19 KOs) knocked him out in the fourth round of their November 2020 bout at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The 12-round battle between Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs), a former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion from Imperial, California, and Miami’s Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs, 2 NC) will headline another FOX Sports Pay-Per-View show a week from Sunday night. Most sportsbooks list Ruiz as a 3-1 favorite over Ortiz.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.