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Cuban fighter Luis Ortiz reintroduced himself as a bona fide heavyweight contender on Saturday, taking less than a minute to finish American Alexander Flores as he plots a path back to title contention.

Ortiz, 41, has suffered just two professional defeats in his career – both of them to Deontay Wilder – and questions had been asked in the lead-in to his first fight since being beaten in the seventh round by the ‘Bronze Bomber’ a year ago as to whether the wily, technical fighter could remain a threat to the three fighters generally considered to be heavyweight elite: Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Wilder.

And while Flores represents a significant chasm in class compared to that trio, Ortiz couldn’t have done much more to impress as he landed a clubbing right hand to the body of his opponent, which folded him into the canvas and prompted the referee to wave off the fight in Los Angeles. 

The commentary team also speculated that Flores may have injured his knee in the exchange, while some fans online were puzzled by the quick first-round stoppage.

🥊Fight Night Reaction🥊Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz needed just 46 seconds to stop Flores in last nights PBC main eventIt was Ortiz’ first bout back since his second loss to Deontay Wilder almost 12 months agoCan we expect another world title challenge for the Cuban?#SimBoxxpic.twitter.com/gDNiqqGIh9

Wtf did he hit him with? Comms says body shot but then says Flores leg is gone?

Luis Ortiz -vs- Alexander Flores, Ortiz won by way of K.O. I’m just as puzzled as the commentators. I didn’t see it, Ortiz threw a rt hand and hit Flores in the left shoulder, and down went Flores, the most unorthodox K.O. ever.

The victory consolidates Ortiz’s third-placed position in the WBC heavyweight rankings and inches him closer to the position of being the mandatory challenger for Tyson Fury’s WBC title.

Fury is expected to face the 20-0 Agit Kabayel in December in a mandatory defense of his world title, while Dillian Whyte is also jockeying for contendership ahead of his rematch with Alexander Povetkin which has been rescheduled for January.

Fury, meanwhile, remains at an impasse regarding the contractually guaranteed trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder. The Brit became the first fighter to hand Wilder defeat last February when the fight was waved off in the seventh round after Wilder’s team threw in the towel. 

Fury and his compatriot Anthony Joshua are also understood to have agreed terms to fight twice, with the first being tentatively scheduled for next summer. However, with the list of contenders growing at heavyweight it appears that a handful of them will have to fall a few rungs down the ladder before clarity is achieved atop the division.

Just give us Luis Ortiz vs Andy Ruiz

Luis Ortiz knocking out Alexander Flores so quickly doesn’t surprise me. When I spoke to him, he was speaking as if he wanted to completely destroy Flores. There was anger in his voice when I spoke to him over the phone. I’d put Ortiz against Andy Ruiz Jr. next. That’d be fun.

At 41-years-old, Luis Ortiz only needed 46 seconds to finish Alexander Flores!The Cuban then proceeded to call out Andy Ruiz! pic.twitter.com/IUrL3RI7Lm

And as some fans are pointing out, perhaps now is the time to pit Ortiz against his fellow Latin American, former world champion Andy Ruiz. 

“I want to fight the best. If that can happen, then I want Andy Ruiz, who was the best at one point, not too long ago by beating Joshua,” Ortiz said after his win.

“Andy was supposed to fight on the same card as well and maybe the winners of tonight were going to fight each other and that’s what potentially was being built up to. Andy didn’t’ participate, so yeah Andy Ruiz is the fight that.

“I want and it’s the one that’s most attainable, it’s the one that can probably really happen without too much back and forth and that would be great. I think that would be a great fight.”