Wilder demands Joshua showdown after successful defence
Deontay Wilder declared he was ready for Anthony Joshua after coming through his toughest test yet to successfully defend his WBC heavyweight title with a 10th round knockout of Cuba's Luis Ortiz.
The unbeaten American survived a brutal onslaught in the seventh round on his way to a 40th career victory and seventh title defence at New York's Barclays Centre.
IBF and WBA champion Joshua faces New Zealand's WBO champion Joseph Parker in Cardiff on March 31 and Wilder said he was fed up of just talking about the prospect of facing the Briton.
The 32-year-old said at his post-fight press conference: "How many times do I have to call him out? I've done enough, I've spoken enough. I'm the baddest man on the planet and whenever they're ready I'm going to be ready."
Wilder also claimed his victory over the previously unbeaten Ortiz was more impressive than Joshua's defeat of Wladimir Klitschko.
"Wladimir wasn't the king, he was already dethroned," he said. "And really Joshua didn't win that fight, Wladimir lost."
Wilder certainly had to dig deep to see off Ortiz.
The challenger looked to be in control in the opening round, twice catching the champion with his left hand, but Wilder responded with a jab in the second before being forced into a corner.
From there, the crowd began to grow restless and jeered as Wilder struggled to land his punches. By the fifth, Wilder finally found Ortiz with a right hand across the face which sent the Cuban to the canvas just before the end of the round.
But the seventh round almost proved to be the turning point as Ortiz retaliated with massive left hands, putting his opponent on the ropes and continuing the attack into the eighth.
"He had me in a whirlwind and I had to get out of there," Wilder said afterwards.
The late thriller continued into the next rounds when a knockout seemed to be Wilder's only chance of taking the bout, and a huge right uppercut ensured he produced it in the 10th, sending Ortiz to the floor as the referee waved for the fight to stop.
Meanwhile, Kell Brook is on course for a showdown against Amir Khan later this year after a spectacular second round knockout of Sergey Rabchenko at the Sheffield Arena.
Brook has long coveted a bout against his British rival but those prospects seemed to diminish when he followed up a fruitless jump to middleweight to challenge Gennady Golovkin in September 2016 by losing his IBF welterweight title to Errol Spence Jr last May.
However, the 31-year-old drew a line under those twin defeats in emphatic style in his first foray into the light-middleweight division as he needed less than five minutes to dispose of Belarusian fighter Rabchenko to the delight of a partisan home crowd in South Yorkshire.
In doing so, Brook not only rejuvenated his career but laid down the gauntlet to Khan, who will end a near two-year layoff when he takes on Canada's Phil Lo Greco at a catchweight of 150lbs in Liverpool next month.