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Deontay Wilder to fight Luis Ortiz in fall as Joshua showdown remains on hold

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Deontay Wilder
 Deontay Wilder plays for the camera after knocking out Dominic Breazeale in the first round on 18 May in Brooklyn. Photograph: Anthony Geathers/Getty Images

The long-awaited title unification fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua won’t be happening in 2019.

Wilder, the heavy-handed Alabaman who’s held the WBC’s version of the fractured heavyweight championship since 2015, announced Tuesday evening that he’s signed a contract to fight a rematch with Cuban slugger Luis Ortiz in the fall, dashing all short-term hopes for the hotly anticipated four-belt summit meeting with Joshua only four days before the Briton defends his WBA, WBO and IBF titles against Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden.

The date and site of the fight have yet to be announced, but early rumblings indicate it will take place on 7 or 28 September in either Los Angeles or Las Vegas.

Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), who turns 34 in October, is coming off a sensational first-round knockout of mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale earlier this month.

Afterward the Olympic bronze medalist addressed the potential superfights on offer in the division, including a rematch with Tyson Fury of their controversial split draw in December and the showdown with Joshua – perhaps the best fight that can be made in any division today – assuring fans they were imminent.

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Wilder and Ortiz first met last year in an entertaining scrap at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center which saw the American overcome his toughest moments as a professional to that point before finishing matters with a 10th-round knockout.

At this pivotal time…

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