Undefeated Chicago cruiserweight fighter Dimar “Strongman” Ortuz had all but forgotten his boxing career.
Since winning the Chicago Golden Gloves in 2002, Ortuz been away from the game for eight years, ballooned to 260 lbs, successfully battled a drinking problem and become a hard-working father of three.
“Pops, why don’t you fight again?” Ortuz recalls one of his children asking in November 2010, while looking at old pictures. “I said ok, let me try one fight.’”
Two years later, Ortuz has lost 60 pounds and gone on to turn professional, scoring four victories, three by knockout.
“It’s addictive,” he explains.
Ortuz will take a voluntary major step up in competition when he faces former highly decorated amateur and fellow undefeated fighter Donta Woods (8-0, 7 KOs) from Atlanta, Georgia, in a six-round cruiserweight battle.
The pair will meet in one of the featured bouts of Hitz Boxing’s latest “Fight Night at the Horseshoe” installment, this Saturday, August 18 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.
“It’s time for me to step up. I’m 31 and if I keep on fighting too easy competition, it’ll take me longer than I want to get where I want. If I hand-pick my opponents. I’ll be 20-0 in no time, but I want better competition to challenge myself.”
Ortuz says he’s aware that Woods won several national championships and competed internationally for the United States.
“He had a pretty good amateur career and I heard he’s pretty good and fast, but nothing intimidating for me. I’ve sparred over 300 rounds with the best guys in the city. I helped Andrzej Fonfara get ready for Glen Johnson. I helped Carlos Molina get ready for James Kirkland. I just finished helping Donovan George get ready for his fight Friday. I figure it’s time to step up my competition a little bit and see where I’m at.”
“We offered Dimar opponents who were less of a challenge and he wouldn’t hear of it,” said promoter Bobby Hitz. “He was determined to take on Woods and for that, you have to take your hat off to the guy. More fighters should take a page from his book. I’m impressed and I would definitely buy a ticket for this fight.”
Ortuz is due some credit. In an age of paper champions and manufactured reputations, he is not looking for any easy roads. Perhaps he can attribute that to his tough upbringing on the streets of Chicago in the gang-infested neighborhood of Humboldt Park.
“I had a lot of close calls living there. It’s a real big Latin King neighborhood. A lot of people get stuck there in the gangs and with their friends and never leave. Boxing took me out of that. Sam Colonna (Ortuz’s trainer to this day) took me out of that when I was young. I was hanging out and doing bad stuff. I started travelling with Sam and fighting around and he showed me that there’s a bigger world out there than just the neighborhood.”
Ortuz says if all goes well, he’ planning to relocate to New York, where boxing happens more often and even more high-quality sparring can be found.
“It’s never too late. The ultimate goal is to drop down to light heavyweight and try to get myself in there with a few bigger names and give it all I can. I want what everybody wants: that belt around my waist. I just want to put my mind at rest that I did everything I could. That’s the reason I took this tough fight.”