Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. may be considered pound-for-pound stalwarts, but for Virgil Ortiz Jr., they’ve fallen out of the limelight. Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) became restless after failing to secure a contract to replace him.

To appease the welterweight contender’s championship wishes, the WBA’s sanctioning bodies ordered second title holder Eymantas Stannionis to defend the crown against the hard-hitting star. Shortly after, Golden Boy Promotions, which Ortiz belongs to, showed his winning bid of 2.3 million in a purse bid.

The date and venue have yet to be revealed, but Ortiz has already been tinkering with a comprehensive game during training camp. Up to this point, the 24-year-old has had no trouble winning the competition. Most recently, the rising contender posted a 19-game winning streak at the expense of Michael McKinson. While he respects all his past rivals, Ortiz said, looking at Stannionis’ overall record, he’s completely convinced the Lithuanian will push him more than anyone else.

When asked if he would be the best fighter he has ever faced, Stannionis replied to Fight Hub TV, “Yeah, I think so.” “We will be the toughest test for each other.”

Stannionis, like Ortiz, was initially under the impression that he was next in line to face Spence for the unified throne. In his recent show, the 28-year-old dug deep and scored a close but clear split decision victory over Radzhab Butaev.

Following his first title win, Stannionis (14-0, 9 KOs) tried to force a hand on Spence. But despite his public demands and harsh words, the powerful southpaw appears to be going the other way.

Although unofficial, all signs point to former unified champion Keith Thurman getting the call. In any event, despite failing to lure Spence or Crawford into the ring, Stannionis openly expressed joy following the news that a showdown with Ortiz was likely next.

As Ortiz continues to pound the heavy bag in preparation, the hair on the back of his neck begins to grow. In many ways, Ortiz sees both himself and his next opponent as similar. With that in mind, Ortiz hasn’t taken a day off considering the danger Stannionis poses to the table.

“Fights like this excite me and give me that extra drive to work hard in the gym because I know he works as hard as I do. It’s really exciting.” I’m really excited about this fight.”

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