Ortiz won the first six rounds of the bout with Wilder looking tentative and uncomfortable before the champion produced a ferocious right out of nowhere to drop the Cuban in the seventh.
Up until that point, Wilder looked to be heading for the first defeat of his professional career having been comfortably outboxed by his 40-year-old opponent.
But another devastating finish from ‘The Bronze Bomber’ continues his reign of dominance and further enhances his reputation as one of the most destructive punchers in boxing history.
Wilder was rocked for the first time in his professional career when these two met in their first bout in New York in March 2018, with a devastating onslaught from Ortiz in the seventh round leaving Wilder on the brink of a first defeat.
Ortiz asserted his dominance earlier on this time around. His superior footwork troubled the champion throughout the opening two rounds, finding his range with his sharp left as Wilder struggled to land anything of note.
Wilder did connect with a solid right in the third but two stiff lefts from Ortiz early in the fourth backed the champion up. Another neat combo from the challenger saw Wilder beat his chest in response.
Ortiz took the middle rounds before that stunning finish in the seventh – a short-range right that came crashing down on the Cuban and sent him crumbling to the mat.
Ortiz struggled to his feet but was counted out by referee Kenny Bayless.
Wilder can now switch focus to Tyson Fury, with who he shared a split decision draw with in December last year.
Fury, who has wins over Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin and an appearance in WWE under his belt since then, was widely considered to have got the better of Wilder that night, rising from the mat in the 12th having won plenty of rounds prior.
They are set to go to war again on February 22.
WILDER WINS VIA KNOCKOUT!
What a finish! Wilder finds that one, concussive punch and smashes Ortiz. He almost falls through the ropes!
Ortiz is up before the 10 but he can’t continue.
Stunning from Wilder!
Wilder vs Ortiz | Round 7
A superb counter left from Ortiz catches Wilder! He follows it up with another stiff shot that draws Wilder out but the challenger avoids the counter shots with ease.
Ortiz forces Wilder back again with a double jab… BUT OUT OF NOWHERE ORTIZ IS DOWN!
Wilder vs Ortiz | Round 6
More of the same in there – Ortiz remains firmly in control with Wilder looking very tentative.
There is a huge sense of anticipation here however – it only takes one shot from Wilder to change this completely.
At the moment he is only throwing four or five meaningful punches per round – none of them troubling the Cuban.
Wilder vs Ortiz | Round 5
Wilder can’t deal with Ortiz’s footwork and that left hand of his – it’s coming looping over every time and catching him.
Some of Wilder’s shots are rotten – wide, lacking any power and absolutely nothing for Ortiz to worry about. He allows the Cuban to back him up and gets caught with another combination right before the bell.
Wilder vs Ortiz | Round 4
Wilder misses and Ortiz comes in with a beautiful left! The champion’s timing has been so off tonight thus far and it is giving the challenger plenty of encouragement.
The champion is frustrated, what a start this is for the Cuban.
Wilder vs Ortiz | Round 3
Ortiz continues to control the distance well and Wilder walks into a cunning left from the Cuban. The champion hasn’t settled here at all and looks uncomfortable, not throwing anything of note.
A big left over the top catches Wilder, as does a follow up to the body. That wakes Wilder up a bit however, he connects with a sweet right hook that catches Ortiz in the final 30 seconds of the round.
Wilder vs Ortiz | Round 2
Ortiz has a tiny cut above his eye – the result of a clash of heads in the first.
Wilder gets behind his jab – but Ortiz again shows that good footwork and gets some threatening shots in to warn the champion.
Another big left catches Wilder – the Cuban is looking very good in there.
Wilder vs Ortiz | Round 1
A cagey start, but then there is a good left hand from Ortiz who is showing neat footwork in there early on, looping inside to get his opponent on the chin.
Tentative start from Wilder – round one goes to the Cuban.
Here’s how Wilder made his way to the ring. Outstanding.
That was a hell of an entrance. It could take another 10 minutes for Wilder’s team to get him out of his glittering gown and mask.
This is a very slow ringwalk. Think The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. It is having the desired effect though, very tense, very eerie.
Wow. Deontay Wilder’s outfit for the ring walk is something…
And here comes ‘King Kong’ out to become Cuba’s first heavyweight champion at the age of 40. His last shot at world title gold? Maybe…
Our main event is coming up shortly…
Leo Santa Cruz says in his post-fight press conference he wants Gervonta Davis or Gary Russell Jr at 130lbs.
No mention of a third fight with Carl Frampton…
Leo Santa Cruz takes the WBA super bantamweight title and is now a four weight world champion! He executed his plan perfectly in there and was never in any trouble.
Leo Santa Cruz beats Miguel Flores via unanimous decision
The scorecards read…
Santa Cruz vs Flores | Round 12
Flores has got better in the closing rounds and the two share a superb series of exchanges in the final minute of the fight. Entertaining, but this should be a comfortable win for Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz vs Flores | Round 11
Santa Cruz doesn’t look happy with that right hand – it isn’t stopping him throwing it with menace but there could be a problem there.
Again, the pressure from Leo is still much for Flores.