American heavyweight Wilder survives pummeling to stop Ortiz in 10th round

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Deontay Wilder punches Luis Ortiz during their WBC Heavyweight Championship fight at Barclays Center on March 3, 2018 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) – Deontay Wilder survived a pummeling from Luis Ortiz, then knocked out the challenger in the 10th round Saturday night to retain his WBC heavyweight title.

Befitting the undefeated champion from Alabama, it was a wild affair for the final few rounds after a dull series of pawing and gesturing by Wilder gave Ortiz a solid lead. Even after Wilder knocked down Ortiz in the fifth round, the bout remained in the Cuban’s favor.

Then, in the seventh, Wilder appeared out on his feet though he never hit the canvas. He stumbled to his corner when that round ended, and the end seemed near for Wilder.

Instead, he closed the ninth with two hard rights, and then a series of vicious combinations in the 10th started Ortiz’s downfall.

It was over with 55 seconds to go in the 10th after Ortiz went down for the second time in the round from a right uppercut and referee David Fields stopped it.

Wilder is 40-0 with 39 knockouts. This easily was his toughest bout.

By BARRY WILNER, AP Sports Writer

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