|Real name||Rafael Ortega|
September 25, 1950 |
|Wins by KO||6|
Ortega began his professional career on January 24, 1970 in Colon City, Panama against Roberto Javier. The fight went the four round distance and Ortega was announced as the winner by unanimous decision. Ortega would fight for the first time outside of Panama on February 16, 1972 as he travelled to New York City, United States to face Fernando Jimenez. Ortega arrived in New York with an unbeaten record after 9 fights (including 4 draws) and further added to his wins with an eight round decision victory. He went on to win two more bouts in New York and would also fight in El Salvador during his early career.
On December 15, 1973 Ortega challenged for his first title. The champion was Rigoberto Riasco, who held the Panamanian featherweight title. Riasco retained his title with a twelve round unanimous decision and would later go on to win the WBC super bantamweight title. Over his next 7 fights Ortega compiled a record of 5 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw while fighting in Mexico, Venezuela and South Africa as well as Panama.
On January 15, 1977 Ortega fought Francisco Coronado for the vacant WBA featherweight title. After fifteen rounds the scorecards were revealed as: 146-143, 146-143 and 144-143—all in favour of Ortega who took the title by unanimous decision. For his first title defence Ortega travelled to Okinawa, Japan to face Flipper Uehara in his hometown. Ortega retained his title with another unanimous decision and in the process knocked Uehara down in the first and fourth rounds with left uppercuts.
For the next defence of his title Ortega travelled to Cantabria, Spain, which was the hometown of the challenger Cecilio Lastra. An estimated crowd of 6,300 saw Lastra knockdown Ortega in the third round with a solid left jab and win the title via split decision after dominating the fight. Ortega did not return to boxing until 1984 when he won a unanimous decision over Ernesto Arce. This was to be his last victory as, in his final fight, he lost to Virgilio Barrera by technical knockout on April 14, 1984.
- "boxer: Rafael Ortega". Boxrec. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "Ortega Retains Boxing Crown, Sarasota Herald-Tribune - May 30, 1977". Google news. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- "Lastra claims featherweight boxing title, Star-News - Dec 17, 1977". Google news. Retrieved 8 June 2010.