Vergil Ortiz Jr. will fight Michael McKinson in a rescheduled welterweight bout on Aug. 6 in Fort Worth, Texas, Golden Boy Promotions announced Thursday.
ESPN reported last month that Ortiz and David Avanesyan agreed to a deal for a fight on the same date, but according to Ortiz’s manager, Rick Mirigian, Avanesyan reneged.
“[Avanesyan] agreed to the contract in writing, both by text and email,” Mirigian, who also manages former champions Jose Ramirez and Joseph Diaz Jr., told ESPN on Thursday. “Golden Boy accommodated all of his needs to get this done, and then more frivolous demands followed and he backed out. Golden Boy bent over backwards to accommodate him.”
Mirigian said Avanesyan’s team informed Golden Boy they would return the signed contract but never did. That’s when GBP turned its attention back to McKinson. The Englishman was set to fight Ortiz on March 19 before Ortiz was hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases the damaging protein myoglobin into the blood.
McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) fought a replacement opponent, Alex Martin, on that same date, and won a unanimous decision to remain undefeated.
“I’m getting what I deserve,” said McKinson, 28. “I was prepared to fight Ortiz Jr. before; now, I have been given the opportunity again to prove I am the best in this division.”
Avanesyan, 33, a hard-punching Russian who now resides in the U.K., appeared to present a far more formidable challenge for Ortiz. Avanesyan scored six straight stoppages since a TKO loss to Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018. Most notably, Avanesyan stopped Josh Kelly last year, ending his run as a top prospect.
“There was never a deal signed,” a spokesperson for Queensberry Promotions, which promotes Avanesyan, told ESPN on Thursday. “It was in discussions but didn’t get that far. The terms offered were not acceptable and changed without agreement in the redraft. We never dealt with his manager, we were dealing with Golden Boy. And we notified the WBC that purse offers were preferable. Avanesyan has never run or avoided anyone and for anyone to suggest that is laughable.”
Ortiz, (18-0, 18 KOs), 24, a Dallas native, is one of boxing’s fastest-rising stars. He’s coming off his best win yet, an eighth-round TKO of Kavaliauskas in August. Ortiz was hurt in Round 2 but rallied to score five knockdowns en route to the finish. The nine-month layoff will be the longest of Ortiz’s career.
“I am very happy to be stepping back into the ring again,” said Ortiz, ESPN’s No. 4 welterweight. “I’m ready to show the world once again why I’m ready for a world title.”