Luis Ortiz to fight Razvan Cojanu as he begins quest toward another title opportunity

Heavyweight contender Luis "King Kong" Ortiz will aim to get back on track after his brutal knockout loss to world titleholder Deontay Wilder.

Ortiz will fight fellow former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu in a scheduled 10-round bout on July 28 (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the network announced on Tuesday.

The fight will serve as the co-feature for the lightweight world title unification bout between Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) and Robert Easter Jr. (21-0, 14 KOs).

In a fight-of-the-year contender, on March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Ortiz got knocked down in the fifth round, nearly knocked Wilder out in the seventh round and then got badly knocked out in the 10th round of a rousing fight that exceeded the ample expectations.

Now Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs), 39, a Cuba native fighting out of Miami, Florida, will step back into the ring to take on Cojanu for what he hopes is the first step back to another title opportunity.

"I'm looking to make a statement on July 28 and get back to challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world," Ortiz said. "I'm excited to be back in the ring. I am thankful to have this opportunity."

Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs), 31, a native of Romania fighting out of Burbank, California, made it to the semifinals of the 2015 ESPN Boxcino heavyweight tournament but got knocked out by Donovan Dennis in the second round. Cojanu won his next three fights and then got a shot at then-world titleholder Joseph Parker.

Cojanu traveled to Parker's home country of New Zealand and lost a lopsided unanimous decision in May 2017. Cojanu will be fighting for the first time since.

"I'm proud and confident to know that I will be stepping into the ring against a worthy opponent on July 28," Cojanu said. "Luis Ortiz is a world-class fighter with a lot of experience, which will give me the opportunity to show my skills to all the fans at Staples Center in Los Angeles and watching on Showtime."

Showtime also announced the opening fight of the tripleheader on Tuesday. It will pit junior welterweight prospect Mario Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs), 23, of San Antonio, against the more seasoned Jose Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs), 30, of Garden Grove, California, in a 10-rounder.

"I fought on Showtime Extreme, but making my debut on Showtime has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid," Barrios said. "Now, the time has come to show why I'm here. I'm ready to keep showing why I'm going to become a star and one of the sport's next great fighters." Roman, a pro for 10 years, is coming off an eight-round decision loss to Wilberth Lopez in September.

"I'm very excited to have this great opportunity," Roman said. "Barrios has been on a roll, but I have the experience to take him out. Both of us bring pressure, and I know he's going to be hungry to keep his record perfect. I'm more motivated than I've ever been for this fight. I can't wait to put on a show in my backyard for all the great fans in Southern California."