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Vergil Ortiz Jr. is one of the few athletes that’s been unfortunate enough to go through rhabdomyolysis, but his diagnosis put his mind at ease. 

‘Rhabdomyolysis’ is a long and complicated word to pronounce, and it’s hell on your body if you’re one of the few athletes unlucky enough to suffer from this condition.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. gained this knowledge the hard way.

Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) is one of the best young welterweight boxers in the world. The 24-year-old from Grand Prairie, Texas, was ready to battle fellow undefeated fighter Michael McKinson in March, but Ortiz was forced to withdraw from the contest a week before the fight.

When the news hit the wire that Ortiz had to be hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, many boxing fans had to search Google for an understanding of this ailment.

If you’re an Iowa football fan like this former Hawkeye, you know what this condition is. In 2011, several Iowa football players were hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis after a series of grueling workouts.

To summarize, rhabdomyolysis is when the body is pushed to the physical brink, and muscles in the body break down, releasing dangerous proteins that can be toxic to the kidneys, liver, and other organs.

Ortiz sensed something wasn’t right with him for a short while. He chalked it up to fatigue and the stresses of being an elite boxer, but Ortiz realized this wasn’t just tiredness as his body started to fail him.

“It was like two weeks before the fight was supposed to happen, and my body just kept going downhill, and it wasn’t getting any better,” Ortiz said to FanSided.

When Ortiz received the diagnosis from the doctor, he had no idea what rhabdomyolysis was.

“I never even heard of that before,” Ortiz said. “When I saw it on the paper, I was like, dude, I can’t even say that,” Ortiz joked.

Watch Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Michael McKinson on Saturday, Aug. 6, on DAZN at 9 p.m. ET

Ortiz knew it was the correct diagnosis based on his symptoms. He spent the night in the hospital and was told to refrain from all physical activity for three weeks to aid in recovery.

Ortiz was disappointed that his fight was off but was also happy to have rhabdomyolysis and not something worse.

“But you know, I’ll tell you what, I was kind of happy that it was something, you know, because if it wasn’t anything that they couldn’t figure out, then it’s just like, is it just in my head?” Ortiz said. “It would have been even worse.”

Ortiz’s illness caused him anxiety. Not knowing what was wrong brought out the pessimist in Ortiz. He feared something dire could be wrong. He thought that a severe illness could derail his boxing career.

“I was like, is my body, like, did it have enough in me?” Ortiz questioned. “Am I still gonna be able to continue with my boxing career or anything like that? So there’s definitely a lot of other stuff.”

Rhabdomyolysis can be serious if not treated, but it’s temporary and something that can be fixed, which gave Ortiz solace.

Many people jumped to speculations about what caused Ortiz to come down with rhabdomyolysis. Was his father pushing him too hard? Was he struggling to make weight?

It turns out it was none of the above.

Ortiz spent so much time in the gym preparing for his next fight, but the dates kept moving, which meant he never received a break.

“I had been training for a fight since like October because we were supposed to fight in the beginning of the year, like January 2, almost, or something like that,” Ortiz said. “So I had been training since October.

“And when I trained, I trained like pretty hardcore, you know. So I had six months of that going on. And I think by the time March just came around, even sort of like February, I was feeling a little tired. It was just too much.”

Ortiz is fine now and ready to fight McKinson on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX. Ever the professional, Ortiz is focused on this fight, but dreams of becoming a world champion are never far from his thoughts.

Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford hold all the division titles. Ortiz and the rest of the world are waiting for a unification bout to take place, so the division’s future can take added shape. He would love to fight the winner of that matchup.

“That’s really the ultimate goal,” Ortiz said. “If that’s the only way I can get a world title shot, then I’ll do it. My ultimate goal is just to be a world champion in this weight class. That’s my goal.”

There are no guarantees Spence vs. Crawford gets made, but Ortiz does see a slight favorite in that hypothetical matchup.

“And I mean, as far as I think who’s gonna win? I think Crawford has a slight edge, and just very slight,” Ortiz said. “It’s not like a big one where I think he’s gonna blow him out or anything like that. I still think Errol could beat him.”

An Ortiz vs. Crawford or Spence bout would be a mega fight, but Ortiz still has work to do against a tough McKinson, but at least that date is almost here, and Ortiz is completely healthy.

Next: Michael Conlan on living with a loss

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Tags: if you’re it wasn’t if you’re hospitalized before the fight a world champion vergil ortiz jr this condition boxing career iowa football ultimate goal is one supposed that can be

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I went on University Challenge and there’s a nerve-wracking reason why Jeremy Paxman puts fear of god into contestants

NOBODY does withering scorn quite as brilliantly as Jeremy Paxman.

For an astonishing 28 years, Paxo has asked the questions on TV’s University Challenge as generations of academically astute undergraduates discovered that they were not quite as smart as they thought they were.

7A year after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Jeremy Paxman has announced he is leaving University ChallengeCredit: PA:Press Association 7In 1998 Tony Parsons competed on University Challenge alongside The Sun's Jane Moore representing tabloid journalists against a broadsheets' team led by Boris JohnsonCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk 7In 1997 Paxman famously asked former Home Secretary Michael Howard the same question 12 times on Newsnight

A year after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Paxman has announced he is leaving the show.

He will shoot his final series this autumn, for broadcast next year.

University Challenge without Paxman is going to be like Top Of The Pops without The Hairy Cornflake.

Doctor Who without an old white bloke driving the Tardis.

After nearly three decades hosting the programme, Paxman made it his own.

And it wasn’t originally his own — uber-nerd Bamber Gascoigne fronted the ultimate quiz show from 1962 to 1987, and Jeremy was drafted in for the reboot in 1994.

Under Paxman’s flinty gaze, University Challenge once more established itself as one of the great bastions of the BBC.

Indeed, Paxman’s University Challenge performed the BBC’s remit — inform and entertain — better than any other show on air.

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Like all the great BBC shows — Match Of The Day, Top Of The Pops, Strictly, anything featuring David Attenborough — Paxman’s University Challenge cut across all barriers of class, age, race, sex and even cleverness.

That starter for ten rendered everyone equal.

Four years into Paxman’s tenure, I appeared on the show as part of a team of tabloid journalists, including The Sun’s Jane Moore.

We faced off against a team of broadsheet journalists, captained by a 34-year-old hack from the Daily Telegraph with a genius for self-promotion called Boris Johnson.

It was a privilege and a pleasure to see the great man at work.
Paxman, I mean, not Boris.

He was firm but fair

In that University Challenge special, Bojo hardly stopped talking, but achieved very little — story of his life.

Our tabloid team stuffed those broadsheet swells 210 to 165.

“Soundly trounced,” declared Paxman — one of the highlights of my career.

A generation of BBC broadcasters have totally misunderstood the legacy of Jeremy Paxman.

When they shriek, berate and constantly interrupt some hapless politician on BBC’s Newsnight or Radio 4’s Today show, they think they are doing what Jeremy Paxman did. They are emphatically not.

Paxo is no pussycat, not even in the relaxed confines of a green room with a drink in hand.

I found him firm but fair, never needing to raise his voice, and even at his most acerbic there is always a twinkle in his eye.

A humour, warmth and humanity. Even when he is eviscerating someone, he does so with a kind of deep-frozen courtesy.

On that Fleet Street special, Boris was outrageously attention-seeking, like a three-year-old in the grips of a sugar rush, almost out of control until Paxman slapped him down with a few withering words.

“He was an innkeeper!” Boris burbled, answering a question about the profession of Rahab in the bible.

“No,” sniffed Jeremy, taking that killer Paxo pause.

“SHE . . . was . . . a . . . prostitute.”

University Challenge found you out. Paxman found you out.

It was not enough if, like Bojo, you went to Eton and Oxford, you were steeped in the classics, you were a posho who was destined to one day be “World King”.

'Nerves of steel'

So what? It did not matter on Paxman’s University Challenge.

You had to be smart, fast on the buzzer and possess nerves of steel.

You had to be right — and you had to be right before anyone else. It was daunting beyond belief.

Not least because when you pressed that buzzer, with your mouth all dry, and Paxman looked you in the eye, you better know your stuff.

There are other scary shows.

Mastermind is genuinely terrifying, because you sit alone in the darkness as that funeral dirge theme booms out.

Pointless is strangely unnerving because it can go pear-shaped so quickly and you can be on the way home while your mum is still putting the kettle on.

And of course, squeaky bums are as a much a feature of Strictly as fake tans.

But the presence of Paxman made University Challenge uniquely nerve- racking.

Here was the great interrogator of BBC Two reinvented as a quiz show host.

He brought his hanging judge demeanour with him.

In one notorious Newsnight waterboarding in 1997, Paxo asked former Home Secretary Michael Howard the same question 12 times.

He was not expected to go easy on a bunch of spotty, self-regarding students. And he didn’t.

University Challenge famously featured the stars of tomorrow.

Miriam Margolyes in 1963. The late Clive James in 1968. Stephen Fry in 1980. Kwasi Kwarteng in 1995.

But the biggest star of all was always Jeremy Paxman, even when the young Boris Johnson was screaming “me, me, me” in 1998.

Paxman was one of the great TV stars because, like Michael Parkinson, like Clive James, he thought of himself as a journalist, not a talking head.


1.Which English term for a time of day is derived ultimately from the Latin phrase meaning the ninth hour after sunrise calculated according to the Roman method?

2. Which of the following US states has a total area closest in size to that of the United Kingdom? Texas, Michigan, Alaska, Rhode Island?

3. Nenagh, Clonmel and Cashel are towns in which inland Irish county, bordering Galway and Cork?

4. What four-letter word is this? A Buddhist teaching says it’s in the heart of a person who inwardly despises his father and disregards his mother. Shelley says it’s like London. John-Paul Sartre says it is other people.

5. Which Alfred Hitchcock film from 1951 features Farley Granger as tennis star Guy Haines, who is involved in a murder plot?

6. “In the darkening twilight I saw a lone star hover gem-like above the bay.” This was the last diary entry of which explorer, written on January 5, 1922, at Grytviken in South Georgia?

7. On display in the National Gallery, “Whistlejacket”, a life-size portrait of the Marquess of Rockingham’s racehorse, is the work of which English artist?

8. Which of the following countries is NOT a permanent member of the UN Security Council – Germany, China, Russia or France?

9. What is hydrated magnesium silicate known as when used in a bathroom?

10. The novels Midnight’s Children, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Robinson Crusoe and Tristram Shandy all open with which of these words – When, Stop, I or Want?

ANSWERS: 1. Noon; 2. Michigan; 3. Tipperary; 4. Hell; 5. Strangers On A Train; 6. Ernest Shackleton; 7. George Stubbs; 8. Germany; 9. Talc; 10. I.

'Don't say anything stupid'

I have found the man to be a diamond. Paxman was the first person to champion my novel Man And Boy, stunning all when he confessed it made him cry.

He interviewed me last year for his podcast, The Lock In, and despite his friendly demeanour, I felt exactly as I did on that special edition of University Challenge a quarter of a century ago.

Don’t say anything stupid! It’s Jeremy Paxman!

The rise and rise of Strictly after Bruce Forsyth’s retirement proves that all great TV shows have a life of their own.

And yet it is hard to fight the feeling that University Challenge will lose some of its soul, sceptical mind and intellectual rigour when Paxman signs off for the last time.

Paxman’s skill set, essentially a total intolerance of any form of ignorance, does not feel as though it belongs in these woke times.

It is hard to fight the feeling that a bossy old white bloke like Jeremy might struggle to have a glowing career in the BBC of today.

Paxman, like any Englishman in his seventies, is an unsentimental type.

I can imagine him recoiling from the heartfelt tributes that will come his way.

“I had a blast,” was what he had to say when his retirement was announced.

And so did we, especially when we got a question or two correct.

Which all leaves the burning question.

Read More on The SunCAP IT OFF Mum left stunned as she learns what the point on a ketchup cap is actually for

Fingers on the buzzer — your starter for ten — I am going to have to hurry you . . . who can replace Jeremy on University Challenge?

Bzzzzzzzz. Nobody.

7A young Stephen Fry appeared on University Challenge in 1980 representing Cambridge UniversityCredit: Rex Features 7Miriam Margoyles represented Newnham College in the first series of University Challenge in 1963 7The late Clive James appeared on University Challenge in 1968Credit: Rex Features 7Martin Roberts from Homes Under The Hammer said it was 'a pleasure' being put down by PaxmanCredit: Martin Roberts 'I LOVED HIS PUT DOWNS'

By Martin Roberts, Homes Under The Hammer

I GREW up watching University Challenge with mum and dad, so I was delighted to represent my old university, Bradford, in last year’s Christmas episodes.

Jeremy didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt because I was a famous face.

But his wonderful sarcastic aggression was always done in such style, you couldn’t help but laugh.

He was so brilliant, it was a pleasure to be put down by him.

It’s a great skill to be able to do that without causing offence.

The questions were so difficult and Jeremy pulled no punches.

Luckily, we had a bunch of talented people on our team who knew about ancient history, Greek mythology and Renaissance art.

It is sad Jeremy is retiring.

He did an extraordinary job in personally challenging circumstances.

Being given a tough time by the great Jeremy Paxman is like being shouted at by Anne Robinson – a beautiful rite of television passage.

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