Heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz will face Matias Ariel Vidondo for a vacant interim world title on the Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux televised undercard on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ortiz-Vidondo was one of two fights announced on Tuesday by Lemieux's promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, to round out the HBO PPV telecast in support of the much-anticipated middleweight title unification bout.
Golden Boy also announced that the middleweight title elimination fight between Eamonn O'Kane and Tureano Johnson, which was already scheduled to be on the card, will be part of the broadcast.
In the previously announced co-feature, flyweight world champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KOs), the Nicaraguan star and protégé of the late Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, will defend his title against former unified titleholder Brian Viloria (36-4, 22 KOs).
"King Kong" Ortiz (22-0, 19 KOs), 36, a former Cuban amateur standout who defected and fights out of Miami, was supposed to face former world titleholder Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KOs), but Stiverne promoter Don King declined to sign the contract after the deal had been agreed to.
So Golden Boy signed the relative unknown Vidondo (20-1-1, 18 KOs), 38, of Argentina, for the fight.
They will be fighting for an interim belt, the third-tier title of one of boxing's alphabet organizations that already crowns recognized world champion Wladimir Klitschko and so-called "regular" titleholder Ruslan Chagaev.
"The only way to be the best is to beat the best, and taking on Matias and fighting for the interim WBA heavyweight world title is a big step to proving that I am the best," Ortiz said. "But I am more than ready. I am too fast and too strong for Vidondo and I will prove that on Oct. 17. My dream has always been to become the heavyweight champion of the world and this fight is a big step closer to that dream."
Vidondo has never faced an opponent of remote note and will be fighting in the United States for the first time. But he is happy to get such a significant opportunity.
"Making my U.S. debut while fighting for the interim WBA heavyweight world title is a big opportunity for me," he said. "I will get to showcase my power in front of a national stage and on the undercard of one of the biggest nights in boxing this year. I promise my fans and Argentina that I will not let them down. I will be victorious on Oct. 17 and bring home a title."
Last September, Ortiz knocked out Lateef Kayode in brutal fashion in the first round to win the same interim title in Las Vegas. However, Ortiz tested positive for a banned steroid after the bout.
The result of the fight was changed to a no contest, the belt was taken away from him and he was fined and suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Ortiz, a southpaw with tremendous power, returned in June for a first-round knockout of journeyman Byron Polley and remains an intriguing presence in the heavyweight division.
"Luis Ortiz is the real deal. Not only does he have tremendous power, but he moves extremely well for a man of his size," Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. "If he gets past Vidondo, and captures his first heavyweight title, fights against anyone in the division -- including Wladimir Klitschko -- will be on the table."
Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs), 31, a 2008 Olympian from the Bahamas, and O'Kane (14-1-1, 5 KOs), 33, of Ireland, will be fighting for the right to become a mandatory challenger for the winner of the Golovkin-Lemieux main event.
"I am grateful for the opportunity that has been awarded to me, to be able to fight in the IBF middleweight title eliminator," Johnson said. "It was long-awaited. I feel like I am halfway there on the path to accomplishing my goal to becoming a world champion and with Golden Boy Promotions at my side I know it's inevitable. I'm excited to have been chosen and featured as one of their televised fights. I know that the fans have high expectations and they will not be disappointed."
Said O'Kane: "I am looking forward to proving I am the next great middleweight champion on Oct. 17. I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole career and now that it is finally here I am glad it will be at the 'Mecca of Boxing,' Madison Square Garden."
In other bouts announced for the card, which will not be on the American HBO PPV telecast:
• Lightweight Ghislain Maduma (17-1, 11 KOs), a 30-year-old native of Congo based in Montreal, whose only loss was an 11th-round knockout in a highly competitive bout against contender Kevin Mitchell in May 2014 in London, will make his American debut in a scheduled 10-round fight against Maurice Hooker (18-0-2, 14 KOs), 26, of Dallas.
• Washington, D.C., lightweight prospect Lamont Roach Jr. (8-0, 3 KOs), 20, will face an opponent to be determined in a six-round bout.
• Junior welterweight prospect Ruslan Madiev (5-0, 3 KOs), 22, of Kazakhstan, will fight an opponent to be determined in a four-round fight. Madiev trains in the Golovkin camp in Big Bear Lake, California, and shares star trainer Abel Sanchez with him.