1949-03-01 Manuel Ortiz w pts 15 Dado Marino, The Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - WORLD

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1949-03-01 Manuel Ortiz w pts 15 Dado Marino, The Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii - WORLD. Referee: Walter Cho. Scorecards: 16-3, 13-1, 17-1. Despite having drained himself yet again to make the weight, it was Ortiz (118) who ultimately turned out the stronger after five fairly equal rounds before going on to dominate the second half of the fight, his body punching having a marked effect on Marino (116½). The challenger had his best round in the fifth when he rocked Ortiz, but after that it was only the champion’s lack of power that kept him in the contest. Finishing cut and swollen around the face, Marino struggled through to the final bell to lose unanimously on points.

With the world’s leading bantams mainly in Europe, Ortiz took off for Britain in September for the purpose of putting his title on the line for a large purse. Unfortunately, for Jack Solomons, Britain’s leading promoter, Stan Rowan, the British and British Empire champion, had popped over to South Africa and lost his Empire title to Vic Toweel on 12 November. On his return, Rowan then relinquished his British title, leaving Danny O'Sullivan, who had eliminated Bunty Doran, down to meet Teddy Gardner for the vacant crown. After O’Sullivan duly picked up the British title, forcing Gardner to retire in the ninth round at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England on 13 December, he was matched to meet Ortiz for the world title in London on 28 February 1950.

Having gone back home, Ortiz asked for a postponement until some time in March due to him being unable to leave America until 25 February. Self-managed, he also was said to have an arrangement to defend against Luis Romero in Barcelona. At this moment in time The Ring magazine’s top five contenders were Romero, O’Sullivan, Elley Bennett, Luis Galvani and Theo Medina.

Then came an announcement that Ortiz might retire due to weight-making difficulties, before he changed his mind when agreeing to defend against the ninth-ranked Toweel in South Africa. Toweel had turned pro after returning from the 1948 Olympic Games, and apart from beating Rowan he had victories over Kalla Persson, Jimmy Webster, Tony Lombard (twice) and Jackie Paterson, and had defended his British Empire title against Fernando Gagnon.

In the meantime, Jack Solomons, who was asking the NBA, the BBBoC, EBU and Californian Boxing Commission to vacate the title due to breach of contract, wanted to match O’Sullivan against Romero at The Arena, Harringay, London on 25 April for the vacant world championship. Because the Californian Boxing Commission could not find any contractual wrongdoing by Ortiz, and the other bodies remained intransigent, the Romero v O’Sullivan fight eventually went ahead as a defence of the latter’s European title only, Romero winning on a 13th-round stoppage.

Following this, the NBA and BBBoC decided to suspend Ortiz until such time he fulfilled his contract with Solomons, something that became academic when he lost his title.