Still-Unbeaten ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez Set to Begin Full-Time Bivol Pursuit

Neglect penciling it in.

So far as Gilberto Ramirez is worried, you may go forward and ensure the cellphone name that he and his managerial group will probably be making come Monday morning.

Now a 30-year-old contender at gentle heavyweight – and already a five-defense champion at 168 kilos – he totally expects to be ringing up representatives of unbeaten Dmitry Bivol, the WBA’s high belted man at 175, to set a time, date and place for his or her showdown someday in 2022.

“In fact,” Ramirez mentioned. “That’s my plan.

“That’s my year-ender. I have to move via this man and the title combat will come.”

Ah sure… this man.

Ramirez really has a final aggressive hurdle to clear earlier than hitting the ship button on his smartphone – within the hulking type of Cuban slugger Yunieski Gonzalez, with whom he’ll compete in a Saturday evening bout that’s formally been deemed a title eliminator for a shot at Bivol.

The combat will high a DAZN card that’ll air dwell from the AT&T Heart in San Antonio at 9 p.m.

The 36-year-old Gonzalez stands a sturdy 6 ft, has fought as heavy as 197 kilos and has completed three foes in 5 complete rounds since coming back from a three-plus-year ring hiatus in October 2020.

He’d misplaced three of 5 bouts throughout two years earlier than the exit, dropping slim nods to Jean Pascal and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and struggling a three-round blowout on the fists of soon-to-be champ Oleksandr Gvozdyk on a present that includes each Oleksandr Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko in April 2017.

Ramirez is ranked fourth by the WBA – a slot forward of Gonzalez in fifth and each in pursuit of Bivol, who spent final Saturday defeating Tenth-ranked Umar Salamov by broad resolution in his eighth title protection.

The Kazakh-born Russian is 19-0 with 11 KOs and has held his belt since 2017.

However in the event you assume his effort left Ramirez reconsidering his plan, assume once more. 

“I noticed a pair rounds,” he mentioned. “Nothing particular. He’s holding my belt and that’s all.”

As talked about earlier, it’s not the primary time Ramirez, a local of Mazatlán – a Mexican resort city made well-known by the previous “Love Boat” TV present – has pursued championship standing. 

He was significantly spectacular whereas successful the WBO’s tremendous middleweight title from Arthur Abraham on the Pacquiao-Bradley III card in 2016, however even with 5 profitable defenses by no means ascended to the stardom many had anticipated primarily based on that efficiency as a 24-year-old.

He moved to 175 kilos in April 2019 and debuted with a four-round stoppage of Tommy Karpency, however spent the next 20 months in a private/promotional/pandemic quagmire earlier than rising with a Tenth-round end of Alfonso Lopez in Galveston final December.

The ante was upped this previous July in Los Angeles, the place he dropped Sullivan Barrera thrice with physique pictures earlier than eliminating him 98 seconds into the fourth spherical. 

The reliably sturdy Barrera had reached the twelfth spherical earlier than falling to Bivol in his personal WBA problem in 2018, had crushed now-WBO champ Joe Smith Jr. by resolution in 2017 and had gone the gap with the since-retired Andre Ward in a non-title match in 2016.

The Barrera win bumped Ramirez to 42-0 with 28 KOs.

And the Gonzalez win, presumably, will probably be one more great addition to the vacation season for a man combating inside two weeks of Christmas for the third time in three years.

Ramirez defeated Jesse Hart by majority resolution in his last tremendous middleweight protection on Dec. 14, 2018, then stopped Lopez a minute into the Tenth spherical on Dec. 18, 2020. 

Earlier in his profession, he scored win No. 6 in December 2009 and stopped a then-unbeaten Rogelio “Porky” Medina to get to 15-0 in December 2010. 

“It’s one thing particular for me to combat in December,” he mentioned. “On the finish of the day I need to have the ability to spend time with my household at Christmas and New 12 months’s. That’s what’s necessary to me. The final time I couldn’t stick with them, however now it’s totally different and I really feel glad to make this combat occur.”

* * * * * * * * * * 

This week’s title-fight schedule:

WBA minimal title – Phuket, Thailand

Thammanoon Niyomtrong (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Robert Paradero (No. 13 WBA/No. 41 IWBR)

Niyomtrong (22-0, 8 KO): Tenth title protection; Tenth title combat in Thailand (9-0, 2 KO)

Paradero (18-1, 12 KO): Second title combat (0-1); First combat exterior of the Philippines

Fitzbitz says: Niyomtrong has lengthy been a favourite of those that choose the lightest weights and there appears little cause to consider he received’t proceed the momentum right here. Niyomtrong by resolution (99/1)

IBF/WBA bantamweight title – Tokyo, Japan

Naoya Inoue (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Aran Dipaen (No. 5 IBF/Unranked IWBR)

Inoue (21-0, 18 KO): Fourth IBF title protection; 5 KO wins in six fights at 118 kilos

Dipaen (12-2, 11 KO): First title combat; Eleven straight wins by KO (2.45-round common) 

Fitzbitz says: Dipaen is collaborating in his first title bout, nevertheless it appears an particularly merciless indoctrination to place him in with Inoue. It’d be a colossal upset, nevertheless it received’t occur. Inoue in 2 (99/1)

WBO mini-flyweight title – Tokyo, Japan

Wilfredo Mendez (champion/No. 6 IWBR) vs. Masataka Taniguchi (No. 1 WBO/No. 13 IWBR)

Mendez (16-1, 6 KO): Third title protection; First combat in Japan

Taniguchi (14-3, 9 KO): Second title combat (0-1); Three straight wins since title-fight loss in 2019

Fitzbitz says: These guys are generally onerous to foretell as a result of not many of us have seen them loads. But when widespread foes are legitimate, the needle tricks to Mendez. Adequate. Mendez by resolution (75/25)

IBF/WBC gentle heavyweight titles – Montreal, Quebec

Artur Beterbiev (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Marcus Browne (No. 1 WBC/No. 10 IWBR)

Betebiev (16-0, 16 KO): Second WBC title protection; KO wins in all 5 title fights (8.2-round common)

Browne (24-1, 16 KO): First title combat; First combat exterior the US

Fitzbitz says: There’s a number of causes to assume this will probably be a enjoyable combat, however not a number of causes to assume Browne can win in. He didn’t blow away Jean Pascal, and Beterbiev is healthier. Beterbiev in 8 (95/5)

Final week’s picks: 3-0 (WIN: Edwards, Bivol, Donaire)

2021 picks report: 49-16 (75.3 %)  

General picks report: 1,205-391 (75.5 %)  

NOTE: Fights previewed are solely these involving a sanctioning physique’s full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, and many others. Fights for WBA “world championships” are solely included if no “tremendous champion” exists within the weight class.  

Lyle Fitzsimmons has coated skilled boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He’s a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America. Attain him at [email protected] or comply with him on Twitter – @fitzbitz. 

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