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The Champ is Home: Jose Ramirez to Make First Title Defense in Front of Hometown Fans


The dream has been realized. Now, it’s time for Jose Ramirez to get down to business.

Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs), from Avenal, California, will make the first defense of his WBC super lightweight world title against Danny O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs) on Saturday in front of a projected sold-out crowd at the Save Mart Center in Fresno. It’s the building Ramirez packed several times on his journey to a world title.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Ramirez-O’Connor and the 10-round welterweight showdown between NABF champion Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Juan Carlos Abreu will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.

The entire undercard will be shown on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET and includes heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz Jr. (30-1, 20 KOs) against Kevin Johnson (32-9-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-rounder, undefeated Andy Vences (20-0-1, 12 KOs) defending the WBC Continental Americas super featherweight title against Frank De Alba (22-3-2, 9 KOs) in a 10-rounder, and 18-year-old wunderkind Gabe Flores Jr. (8-0, 5 KOs) against James De Herrera (4-3, 3 KOs) in a six-round lightweight contest.

The fighters gathered Thursday at the final press conference at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino. This is what they had to say.

Jose Ramirez

“It’s quite an honor for me to bring this type of fight, this type of entertainment, to Central California. To fight my first title defense in front of my biggest fans, my closest friends and my family, it’s a blessing.”

“We’re calling this event ‘Protecting Home’ because we’re protecting those that belong here in this country, who fight every day and contribute to this community. We’re also protecting what belongs to us, which is a world title.”

On switching from Freddie Roach to Robert Garcia as head trainer

“I think what went on with that change was loyalty and the fact that we do so much outside of the ring as well. Robert is a guy who is from Oxnard, a very similar community to Central California. He understands the work ethic and what we represent, what we do. And he wants to be a part of it. He’s very motivated to train me. He’s very excited to train me. That makes it easier for me to be motivated and to be excited to stay in this sport. Freddie is a great man. He’s very respected. He always respected me as a fighter, but he had so many world champions, and I needed to feel more of that loyalty and excitement from him. And I think I found it now in Riverside with a lot of undefeated prospects, good prospects, and future world champions at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy.”

Danny O’Connor

“First and foremost, I’m a father and a husband, so that’s the most important thing. After taking a knockout in that form {a first-round stoppage loss versus Gabriel Bracero in October 2015} when I had never even been dropped in the gym before, I had to assess my personal health to make sure I was able to be that father, that husband I needed to be. It wasn’t so much taking time away from the sport, it was kind of just re-evaluating to make sure I was OK mentally and physically and still able to compete at the level I needed to be in a fight like this.”

“I feel grateful to be in this position. I’ve worked very hard inside the ring and outside the ring to overcome so much adversity to be here today. I never quit. I never gave up on myself. I never lost hope.”

Egidijus Kavaliauskas

“I’m just happy to fight in Fresno. It’s close to where I live in Oxnard. It’s very nice here. It’s very hot. On Saturday, it will be even hotter inside the ring. It’ll be a very good fight.”

Juan Carlos Abreu

“I feel very good. I’m ready to take the title back home to the Dominican Republic.”

Andy Ruiz Jr.

“My goal is to fight the big names out there. The main thing is to stay on track, stay on the right side and in shape, and get ready for whatever comes in 2018.”

“I’m in good condition. After my last fight March 10 {a first-round stoppage over Devin Vargas}, I’ve been in the gym ever since. I’m training really hard, taking it more seriously. It’s my time for this year and next year. The main thing is to stay in shape and be prepared.”

Gabe Flores Jr.

“I sold a bunch of tickets out here. I’m glad a lot of people are supporting me, and for my family to see me fight, it’s beautiful. There’s only one person that I wish could be here, and it’s my mother. She’s up there, but she’s going to be watching me, and she’s going to give me the energy I need to fight.”

On building his hometown of Stockton, California, as a boxing market

“I have amazing support in Stockton, California. We’re going to be there eventually. It’s going to take some time, but I can’t wait to fight in front of my people.”

Andy Vences

“{The Erick De Leon fight} was a technical fight. It ended in a draw. I do what I always do. I looked back at the fight, saw what adjustments I could’ve made, and moving forward, those are adjustments I’m going to show for this fight. The fans are in for it. They’re going to get their money’s worth because every time I fight at the Save Mart Center, I bring action, I bring knockouts.”

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ramirez Defeats Angulo, Saucedo Wins War


By: Ken Hissner

Top Rank promoted a championship main event at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK, Saturday over ESPN.

In the Main Event WBO World Super Middleweight champion Mexican southpaw Gilbert “Zurdo” Ramirez, 38-0 (25), defended his title for the fourth time Saturday easily defeating No. 10 ranked Roamer Alexis Angulo, 23-1 (20), of Bogota, COL, over 12 rounds.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

In the first round Ramirez landed a left uppercut and was countered by Angulo who landed lead overhand rights to the chin of Ramirez with little effect. Ramirez landed his jab and a right uppercut well. In the second round Angulo pinned Ramirez against the ropes landing half a dozen punch some on the arms and gloves of Ramirez. Ramirez used his reach keeping the muscular Angulo at bay.

In the third round Angulo rocked Ramirez with a right to the chin. Ramirez regained control in an interesting round. In the fourth round Ramirez controlled with his jab as Angulo was loading up and when he landed a punch had a bad habit of backing up dropping his hands.

In the fifth round it was more of the same with Ramirez controlling with his jab. He rocked Angulo with a left to the chin at the midway point of the round. In the sixth round Ramirez landed a lead left on the chin of Angulo getting his attention. The fans were getting restless after being entertained by the great co-feature.

In the seventh round Angulo rocked Ramirez with a left hook to side of the head but failed to follow up. Ramirez gained control for the remaining of the round. In the eighth round Angulo missed with a right and was countered with a left from Ramirez to the chin. Ramirez came back with a hard left to the head pinning Angulo to the ropes. Angulo dug in with a left to the mid-section doubling Ramirez up.

In the ninth round Angulo landed three right upper cuts to the chin of Ramirez who had his back to the ropes. In the tenth round Angulo’s corner is yelling “go to the body” but Ramirez will not let him get inside keeping the jab in his face.

In the eleventh round Angulo comes out rushing right into a Ramirez straight left to the chin. Angulo landed a hard right uppercut to the chin putting Ramirez against the ropes. Ramirez came right back. Angulo landed a right on top of the head of Ramirez who was leaning in. Angulo who never went past eight rounds looked near exhausted. In the twelfth and final round knowing he needs a knockout Angulo starts throwing wild punches as the back pedaling Ramirez lands his jab. Then Ramirez opens up landed several punches to the head of Angulo. Ramirez pins Angulo against the ropes with a flurry of punches with a minute left in the round. Angulo is landing right uppercuts but getting countered by Ramirez lefts to the head.

119-109 twice and 120-108 as did this writer have it 120-108.

“I’m not happy for I want to unify titles and be the best,” said Ramirez.

In the co-feature unbeaten WBA-NABA USA Super Lightweight champion Mexican Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo, 28-0 (18), of Oklahoma City, OK, in a bloody war stopped Australia’s Leonardo “Lenny Zappa” Zappavigna, 37-4 (27), at 2:31 of the seventh round in a scheduled 10 rounds.

In the first round Saucedo used a good jab keeping Zappavigna on the defense. Both boxers mixed it up well and with ten seconds left in the round Saucedo landed a right to the chin and Zappavigna countering returning the favor just before the bell. In the second round Saucedo landed a hard right uppercut to the chin of Zappavigna. Halfway through the round a left hook from Saucedo opened up a cut under the left eyebrow of Zappavigna who is prone to cut.

In the third round a Zappavigna missed with a right and was countered with a right to the head from Saucedo and down went Zappavigna on the seat of his trunks. He beat referee Gerald Ritter’s count. By the end of an exciting round Zappavigna gained control. In the fourth round Zappavigna was all over Saucedo rocking him with body and head punches causing a cut over his right eye. It turned into a war with blood coming down the face of both fighters. Saucedo was forced to hold on but fought back with both exchanging punches at the bell. Zappavigna also suffered a small cut along his left eyebrow.

In the fifth round it was Saucedo’s turn to rock Zappavigna with blood flowing from both fighters. The fans have been screaming throughout. In the sixth round they picked up where they left off brawling to the delight of the fans. Zappavigna gained control for the first half of the round. Then Saucedo took over the rest of the round.

In the seventh round with Zappavigna’s corner letting him come out for one more round he comes out with his face covered with blood. Saucedo used a jab to set up his right. Zappavigna would come back on occasion with a left hook. Zappavigna’s corner stopped the fight as the Saucedo fans went wild! Zappavigna’s left eye was closed shut. “He was tough and I have to give him credit. The cuts continue to hurt me,” said Zappavigna. “I want to thank God for the victory. I want to thank the fans for their support. This is just the beginning of bigger fights,” said Saucedo. This will be up for “fight of the year” at years end. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said “He will be fighting Maurice Hooker for his title by the end of the year.” This writer had Saucedo ahead after six rounds 59-56.

Welterweight Mike “Mile High” Alvarado, 39-4 (27), of Thornton, COL, stopped Martin Angel “El Arcangel” Martinez, 18-5-1 (11), of Sonora, MEX, on a cut in the 9th in a scheduled 10.

2016 Olympic Gold Medalist super featherweight Robson Conceicao, 8-0 (5), from Salvador, BRZ, stopped Ecuador’s Gavino “Huesitos” Guaman, 5-3 (1), out of River Falls, WI, at 0:56 of round 3 in a scheduled 8.

In the first round Conceicano had his way with rights over a jab and left hooks to the body. A lead right uppercut on the chin of Guaman and down he went on the seat of his pants just prior to the bell. In the second round Conceicano landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Guaman. Guaman is throwing wild punches missing most. Conceicano landed a left hook to the chin driving Guaman back several steps into the ropes. Conceicano scored a pair of knockdowns before the round came to an end with referee Ritter still counting a Guaman was upright.

In the third round a right from Conceicano dropped Guaman in a complete mismatch. The referee counted to eight asking Guaman to step forward and he fell backwards against the ropes before the referee “finally” waved it off.

Heavyweight Trey Lippe “Morrison”, 15-0 (15), of Tulsa, OK, stopped Byron “The Bear” Polley, 30-23-1 (13), of St. Joseph, MO, scoring 5 knockdowns stopping him in the 3rd round of a scheduled 8.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Saucedo vs. Zappavigna, Ramirez vs. Angulo


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the WBO Super Middleweight Champion, Gilberto Ramirez, will be defending his title in his home state against challenger Roamer Alexis-Angulo. Alex Saucedo, who is also from Oklahoma City will also be competing on the card when he takes on Lenny Zappavigna in the junior welterweight division.

This card is being promoted by Top Rank Promotions and will be televised live on ESPN. It will take place at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The undercard will also feature several prospects and former title contenders. Mike Alvarado, Julian Rodriguez, and Mikaela Mayer are just some of boxers competing on the undercard that fight fans may be interested in seeing.

The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts:

Alex Saucedo (27-0) vs. Lenny Zappavigna (37-3); Junior Welterweights

The opening televised bout will be between Alex Saucedo and Lenny Zappavigna in the junior welterweight division.

Saucedo is a young twenty four year old undefeated prospect. He is currently six years younger than his opponent and will have a rather large four inch height advantage and about a four and a half inch reach advantage.

Saucedo has been fairly active recently He fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017. Three of his past four fights have been KO/TKO victories. Zappavigna has also been fairly active, he fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.

Zappavigna does appear to have an edge in two areas. He appears to be the more powerful puncher of the two. He has stopped twenty seven of his opponents while Saucedo has stopped seventeen. But, two of Zappavigna’s losses were by KO/TKO. Saucedo has never tasted defeat.

Zappavigna also appears to have the better amateur career of the two. He competed in the 2005 World Championships and was a Bronze Medalist in the 2006 Commonwealth games.

Saucedo has the better professional resume. He has defeated the likes of Abner Lopez, Gustavo David Vittori, Raymond Serrano, and Clarence Booth. Zappavigna has defeated the lkes of JK Yang, Ramon Ayala, and Misael Castillo. His losses were to Miguel Vazquez, Ammeth Diaz, and Sergey Lipinets.

Saucedo physical edges in height, reach, and age will likely be too much for Zappavigna to overcome.

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez vs. Roamer Alexis Angulo; WBO Super Middleweight Title

Saturday night will be Gilberto Ramirez’s fourth defense of his world title.

Zurdo is a very good boxer who still needs an “elite” level victory to establish himself as one of today’s greats. Columbian boxer Roamer Alexis Angulo is not that elite level boxer that Ramirez needs.

Ramirez is in the middle of his athletic prime at twenty seven years old. Angulo is already either past or close to past his prime at the age of thirty four. Ramirez will also have about an inch and a half height advantage over his opponent.

Ramirez has been fairly active. He fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. He also has twenty five stoppage wins on his record, but only one of his past five fights were stoppage victories. Angulo has twenty stoppage wins on his record and is currently riding a five fight win streak. However, two of those victories were against opponents with sub .500 records. Two of his past five fights were against guys with records of 2-33 and 6-19.

Angulo turned pro late and has no notable victories. His best wins to date were against Evert Bravo and Izaak Cardona. He turned professional late around the age of 26 in 2010.

Ramirez will be facing a third straight fighter with an undefeated record. He has defeated the likes of Habib Ahmed, Jesse Hart, Max Bursak, Arthur Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards. Ramirez, a southpaw, looked especially good against Jesse Hart, a known power puncher.

Angulo is taking a big step up in competition and he has a daunting task in facing a world champion in his home state. He has never faced someone remotely close to the level of Ramirez and it’s unlikely he’ll survive to the final bell.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Ramirez, Acosta, Cotto, Ranallo, Ancajas, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 25th to May 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Gilberto Ramirez to Defend Super Middleweight Title in Oklahoma City

The Sooner State will welcome home its favorite fighting son and one of boxing’s elite champions for a special edition of Top Rank on ESPN Saturday, June 30 at Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez will make the fourth defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title against the hard-hitting Roamer Alexis Angulo, while Oklahoma City’s Alex ‘El Cholo’ Saucedo continues his march to a 140-pound title shot against Lenny Zappavigna in a 10-round special attraction.

This world class doubleheader will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 9 p.m. ET.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets to this world championship extravaganza will go on sale Friday, May 4 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25, not including facility and service fees, tickets may be purchased at the Chesapeake Energy Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

“We are looking forward to a great event in Oklahoma City. Zurdo Ramirez is always in great fights, and Angulo will give him a real battle,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank. “It’s also with great pride that we were able to put in Oklahoma City native Alex Saucedo against a world class fighter like Lenny Zappavigna.”

“I want to prove that I’m the best fighter in the division. I’m willing to leave everything in the ring to defend my title,” Ramirez said. “I want to dedicate this fight to all the Mexicans and all the Latinos who reside in Oklahoma, I would like many of them to be present in the arena. That would motivate me even more. I’ll be waiting for you guys on June 30.”

“It’s a huge opportunity for me, and I am thankful to be fighting at home on ESPN. I’m going to train really hard, so I can put on a great show for my city,” Saucedo said. “It’s a dream come true to fight at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. I’m ready for the moment. I know what kind of style I bring. I’m going to put on an incredible show and get Lenny out of there.”

Ramirez (37-0, 25 KOs), from Mazatlán, Mexico, became the first Mexican-born super middleweight champion when he shut out three-time world champion Arthur Abraham on April 9, 2016. He was sidelined with a hand injury and didn’t make his first defense for more than a year but didn’t miss a beat in winning a shutout unanimous decision over Max Bursak. Ramirez closed out 2017 with a nip-and-tuck battle against No. 1 contender Jesse ‘Hollywood’ Hart, ultimately prevailing by unanimous decision. In his last bout, on Feb. 3 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Ramirez scored the first stoppage of his championship reign with a sixth-round TKO over Habib Ahmed.

Angulo (23-0, 20 KOs), from Bogota, Colombia, has won his last five bouts by knockout, most recently winning the WBO Latino belt with a first-round knockout over Evert Bravo. He has a well-worn passport, having gone on the road to win bouts in Turkey, Mexico, Germany, United States, and Dominican Republic.

Saucedo (27-0, 17 KOs) was born in Meoqui, Mexico, but his family moved to Oklahoma City when he was 7 years old. An accomplished amateur who won more than 150 bouts in the unpaid ranks, Saucedo turned pro in 2011 and served as a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao. Saucedo, ranked No. 3 by the WBO at 140 pounds, last fought March 10 in Carson, Calif., against Abner Lopez, knocking Lopez out in the seventh round with a left hook to the body. Against Zappavigna, Saucedo will be fighting in Oklahoma City for the first time since 2014. Saucedo is also fighting for his place in Oklahoma City boxing history. He is seeking to become only the second Oklahoma City product to win a world title. Sean O’Grady captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight title on April 12, 1981 with a unanimous decision over Hilmer Kenty in Atlantic City, N.J.

Zappavigna (37-3, 27 KOs) is a 12-year pro and a longtime contender at both 135 and 140 pounds. He challenged Miguel Vazquez for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight title on March 12, 2011 in Las Vegas, dropping a unanimous decision. Following a knockout loss to Amneth Diaz later that year, Zappavigna moved up in weight, winning 10 consecutive bouts before engaging in a bloody slugfest against then-unbeaten Sergey Lipinets on Dec. 10, 2016. Lipinets prevailed via eighth-round TKO and would go on to win the IBF junior welterweight title two bouts later. Zappavigna has won two straight fights since the Lipinets defeat.

Acosta to Make 1st Title Defense Against BuitragoShowtime Documentary on Mauro Ranallo to Premier May 25th

Prolific combat sports broadcaster Mauro Ranallo and his lifelong battle with mental illness are the subject of a new documentary film from SHOWTIME Sports®. BIPOLAR ROCK ‘N ROLLER – named for the moniker Ranallo gave himself as a broadcast personality and DJ in the early 90’s – will premiere on SHOWTIME during Mental Health Awareness Month on Friday, May 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

First look video: https://s.sho.com/2Ft4Mig

Ranallo has Bipolar Affective Disorder, a condition afflicting nearly five percent of the U.S. population according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.org). As a national sportscaster for preeminent boxing, mixed martial arts and WWE events, Ranallo has long been an advocate for ending the stigma of mental illness. Now, for the first time, he exposes the true extent of his daily struggle. Through extensive behind-the-scenes video footage, candid personal interviews and detailed accounts from his loved ones and doctors, BIPOLAR ROCK ‘N ROLLER takes an unflinching look at mental illness and its effects.

The film explores Ranallo’s career, including his work on the two biggest pay-per-view events in television history, and his relentless pursuit of a childhood dream despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Through this deeply personal portrait, Ranallo hopes that the film might inspire others to persevere in pursuing their dreams despite the challenges of a mental health condition.

“I have always tried to do my part to bring awareness to mental health issues,” said Ranallo. “Over the last several years, I allowed my best friend, Haris (Usanovic), to film me at my lowest points as well as at my highest. The idea is simply to show others who suffer that they are not alone and that, even when the outlook is bleak, you can overcome and achieve success. Mental illness is a life sentence—there is no cure—but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.”

“Through BIPOLAR ROCK ‘N ROLLER, Mauro Ranallo has chosen to share not only his life’s dreams, but his nightmares as well,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming for Showtime Networks Inc. “Having reached the pinnacle of his profession, Mauro bravely turns his keen observational skills inward to examine his own life-long battle. The result is a raw, poignant and ultimately inspirational film that personifies Mauro’s courage and selflessness.”

Ranallo is a popular fixture on today’s combat sports scenes. In a career that has spanned more than 30 years, he has called everything from “All-Star Wrestling,” a Canadian professional wrestling outfit, to historic MMA events for PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS out of Japan, to WWE SmackDown Live on USA Network, to many of the biggest boxing events in the world for SHOWTIME Sports. Ranallo was the first broadcaster to call play-by-play on boxing, kickboxing, MMA and professional wrestling events on national television.

Today, Ranallo is the voice of three prominent nationally televised series: SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®, WWE’s weekly show NXT on WWE Network, and BELLATOR MMA on Paramount Network. Perhaps best known for his dramatic, excitable style, Ranallo is a student of the English language. He has already made a lasting mark on the industry having called the two biggest pay-per-view events in television history: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao (May 2015, international telecast); and Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor (Aug. 2017, SHOWTIME PPV®).

BIPOLAR ROCK ‘N ROLLER is produced by Brian Dailey, the network’s Vice President, Sports Digital Content and Strategy, and MALKA MEDIA GROUP. Directed by first-time filmmaker Haris Usanovic, the film is executive produced by Stephen Espinoza and SHOWTIME Sports.

Ancajas and Yafi to Defend World Titles on May 26th
Two of the world’s most dynamic 115-pound talents — on a collision course to a potential title unification bout — will take center stage at the Save Mart Center on the first Top Rank on ESPN world championship card on ESPN+, Saturday, May 26 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Filipino standout Jerwin ‘Pretty Boy’ Ancajas will defend the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight world title in the main event against countryman Jonas Sultan. It marks the first world title bout featuring two Filipino fighters in 93 years, when Pancho Villa defended the world flyweight title against Clever Sencio on May 2, 1925.

In the co-feature, Great Britain’s Kal Yafai will make the third defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) super flyweight title against David Carmona. Soon-to-be announced undercard bouts, including appearances by welterweight contender Jose Benavidez and Central Valley products Bryan Lua and Isidro Ochoa, will be shown on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The Ancajas vs. Sultan / Yafai vs. Carmona world championship doubleheader will be streamed live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ — the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International group and ESPN. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.

Fans can watch Ancajas vs. Sultan / Yafai vs. Carmona, hundreds of other boxing matches per year, other Top Rank on ESPN content and thousands of other live events by subscribing to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year). To subscribe, fans simply download or open the ESPN App or visit ESPNPlus.com and subscribe. Fans can stream on the ESPN App on mobile and TV-connected devices and on ESPN.com.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Big Al Presents, Joven Sports, and Matchroom Boxing USA, special ticket on-sale information will be announced soon.

“I am so glad and very grateful that I was given an opportunity to fight Jonas Sultan,” Ancajas said. “We are given a chance to display our talents on a world stage, two Filipinos fighting for a world title. This is history, and our names will be linked forever.”

“I can’t wait to make my U.S. debut. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I laced them up,” Yafai said. “This is the right time to do it. Everyone wants to fight in America at some stage in their career, and this is the right moment for me to announce myself in the States. I know people will talk about the Jerwin Ancajas fight, of course, but Carmona is the man in front of me, and he’s all I’m thinking about. I have to look good against Carmona, but I know that the Ancajas fight is something that can happen down the line in the States or in England.”

Ancajas (27-1-1,19 KOs), from Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite, Philippines, will be making the fifth defense of the world title he won on Sept. 3, 2016 in Taguig City, Philippines, when he knocked down the previously undefeated McJoe Arroyo in the eighth round en route to a unanimous decision. Ancajas made his U.S. and Top Rank debut as the co-feature to the Gilberto Ramirez vs. Habib Ahmed bout on a Top Rank on ESPN card, Feb. 3 in Corpus Christi, Texas. On that night, Ancajas steamrolled Israel Gonzalez, knocking him down three times and scoring a 10th-round TKO.

One of the most devastating punchers in the lighter weight classes, Ancajas is 15-0 with 14 knockouts since his only loss, a 10-round majority decision to Mark Geraldo on March 17, 2012. He has defended his title in Australia, Northern Ireland, and Macao, a world traveler intent on staking his claim as the top fighter in the loaded 115-pound weight class.

Sultan (14-3, 9 KOs), ranked No. 1 by the IBF, is coming off the biggest victory of his career, when he knocked out former two-division champion John Riel Casimero on Sept. 16, 2017 in Cebu City, Philippines. He has won five in a row, four by knockout, since a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Go Onaga on Nov. 15, 2015. A native of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines, Sultan lost two split decisions in his first six pro fights. Like Ancajas, he has won several fights in his opponents’ home countries, including a 2016 second-round TKO over Makazole Tete in East London, South Africa.

Yafai (23-0, 14 KOs), from Birmingham, England, turned pro in 2012 following an accomplished amateur career, winning eight fights in his first eight months in the paid ranks. On March 21, 2014, he stopped Yaqub Kareem in the third round to win the vacant Commonwealth super flyweight title. Yafai won the British super flyweight title in March 2016 and soon set his sights on a world crown.

On Dec. 10, 2016, Yafai dominated Luis Concepcion via unanimous decision, winning the WBA belt and becoming Birmingham’s first world champion in 109 years. In his most recent title defense, Yafai turned back a tough challenge from Sho Ishida, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 118-110 and 116-112 (2x).

Carmona (21-5-5, 9 KOs), from Mexico City, will be making his third attempt at a world title at 115 pounds. In 2013, he fell to longtime WBO champion Omar Narvaez via seventh-round TKO. And, in 2016, he dropped a unanimous decision to pound-for-pound elite Naoya Inoue, who’d knocked out Narvaez to win the title. On March 10, 2017, he lost a disputed unanimous decision to former WBC super flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras. In his last bout, on March 2 of this year, he scored a fourth-round TKO over Jesus Iribe in Mexico City.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ramirez and Gvozdyk Win at Madison Square Garden


By: Ken Hissner

At Madison Square Garden on St. Patricks Day Saturday night over ESPN Top Rank Promotions put on a good seven fight promotion with two title fights including Jose Carlos Ramirez and Amir Imam in the Main Event.

Super Lightweight Jose Carlos Ramirez, 22-0 (16), of Avenal, CA, won a spirited fight in defeating Amir “Young Master” Imam, 21-2 (18), of Albany, NY, out of Davie, FL, for the vacant WBC World Super Lightweight title over 12 rounds.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

In the first round Imam opened up with a combination. Halfway through the round Imam landed a right uppercut to the chin of Ramirez rocking him. It was a spirited round. The second round Ramirez landed half a dozen unanswered punches. Imam used a very effective jab in the round. Ramirez countered an Imam jab. In the third round Ramirez drove Imam into the ropes with body shots. Imam showed quicker hands while Ramirez more power. Both scored well at the end of the round.

In the fourth round of a competitive round it looked like Imam won his first round. In the fourth round both landed left hooks. Halfway through the round Ramirez landed three left hooks to the body and head of Imam. In the fifth round Ramirez dug several left hooks to the body of Imam. Midway Ramirez rocked Imam with a right hand to the chin forcing him to clinch. Near the end of the round a chopping right from Ramirez to the head of Imam got his attention. In the sixth round the action continued with Ramirez pressing the fight and Imam countering at times.

In the seventh round Ramirez continued coming forward out working Imam. Ramirez ended the round with a solid right to the chin of Imam. In the eighth round Imam landed several right hands to the chin of Ramirez. Ramirez landed two rights to the chin of Imam who had his back to the ropes. Both landed good left hooks to the body. In the ninth round Ramirez drove Imam into the ropes with a flurry of punches. Imam worked the body of Ramirez who had blood showing from his mouth.

In the tenth round Imam landed a triple jab to the chin of Ramirez driving him backwards. A Ramirez hard left hook drew blood from the nose of Imam. Ramirez landed several punches to the head of Imam. In the eleventh round Imam landed a triple jab to the chin of Ramirez but was countered by a double left hook to the body and head by Ramirez. Ramirez drove Imam into the ropes.

Ramirez countered a jab with a left hook and right to the chin of Imam. Both were landing punches at the bell. In the twelfth and final round Ramirez drove Imam backwards with a double jab followed with a right to the chin of Imam. They were landing punches at the bell with referee Ricky Gonzalez getting between them at the bell.
Judge McKaie had it 117-111, DeLuca 115-113 and Steward 120-108 This writer had it 118-112.

Light heavyweight Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk, 15-0 (12), of UKR and Oxnard, CA, won a lopsided decision over Mehdi Amar, 34-6-2 (16), of Marseille, FR, for the interim WBC Light Heavyweight Title over 12 rounds.

In the first round Gvozdyk presses Amar in a battle of jabs for the most part. In the second round Amar landed a left hook to chin of Gvozdyk within ten seconds. Both boxers exchanged combinations to head. Gvozdyk landed a double left hook to the body of Amar. Good round of action with Amar landing the last punch, a left hook to the chin of Gvozdyk. In the third round Gvozdyk landed a lead straight right to the chin of Amar early in the round. Amar landed a 3-punch combination to chin and body of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk landed a combination just prior to the bell.

In the fourth round Gvozdyk landed a flurry of punches driving Amar back against the ropes. Halfway through the round Gvozdyk landed a power right to the chin of Amar knocking his head back.
Amar landed a good left hook to the chin of Gvozdyk prior to the bell. In the fifth round Gvozdyk landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Amar. Amar worked on the body of Gvozdyk. In the sixth round Amar landed a chin followed by a right uppercut to the chin of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk continued to control the fight.

In the seventh round Amar landed a good 3-punch combination to the body and head of Gvozdyk. A stiff jab from Gvozdyk knocked out the mouthpiece of Amar. Prior to the bell both landed punches and fell into the first clinch of the fight for referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. to separate the boxers. In the eighth round Gvozdyk landed a 3-punch combination to the head of Amar. Amar took the fight on 5 weeks notice after three opponents turned down the fight. Amar landed a good right to the chin of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk had swelling over the right eye.

In the ninth round it continued in the favor of Gvozdyk. Several clinche’s in the round of a really clean bout. Gvozdyk landed half a dozen punches prior to the bell. In the tenth round Amar knowing he was behind tried to be more aggressive but couldn’t out punch Gvozdyk. In the eleventh round Amar landed a flurry of punches backing Gvozdyk up several steps. Amar landed a good left hook to the head of Gvozdyk just prior to the end of the round.

In the twelfth and final round for the first time in the fight Amar started moving away from Gvozdyk avoiding his punches. Gvozdyk lands a flurry of punches causing a cut by the left eye of Amar who came back with a left hook of his own.

Judge Morgan had it 119-112, Taylor 116-112 and Hazzard, Jr. 117-111. This writer had it 120-108.

Lightweight Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo, 23-1 (15), of San Juan, PR, lost in the tenth an final round to Antonio Lozada, Jr., 39-2 (33), of Tijuana, MEX,

Super Featherweight Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz, 23-0 (15), of Barranquitas, PR, stopped Braulio “El Chavo” Rodriguez, 19-3 (17), of Santo Domingo, DR, at 0:28 of the fourth round for WBO NABO title.

Two-time Olympian 2016 Bronze Medalist “Irish” Michael “Mick” Conlan, 6-0 (5), of Belfast Ireland, stopped David Berma, 15-3 (14), of Budapest, Hungary, at 1:00 of the second round.

In the first round Berman pressed as Conlan countered. Conlan switched to southpaw midway. Conlan landed a pair of straight left hands to the chin of Berman. A wicked left uppercut to the mid-section by Conlan dropped Berman for a count of nine by referee Eddie Claudio. In the second round a body shot from Conlan dropped Berman. Conlan went right after Berman causing referee Claudio to call a halt.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Ramirez vs. Imam, Conlan vs. Berna, Gvozdyk vs. Amar


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Top Rank Boxing will return to the Theater at Madison Square Garden to televise three fights on ESPN for a St. Patrick’s Day Boxing special.

The WBC Lightweight World Title as well as the WBC Interim Light Heavyweight World Title will be on the line and televised. Irish Olympic Hero Michael Conlan will also be fighting on the televised portion of the card.

The untelevised undercard will feature some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including Christopher Diaz and Felix Verdejo.

The following is a preview of the three televised bouts on the card.

Michael Conlan (5-0) vs. David Berna (15-2); Featherweights

The opening bout of the night will be between Irish Superstar Michael Conlan and Hungarian boxer David Berna.

Berna is one year older than Conlan and has some power in his hands. He has stopped fourteen of his opponents and only has one win by decision. His two losses however were by stoppage. Conlan has four stoppage victories on his resume and will have about a half inch height advantage over Berna.

Conlan has a large edge in amateur experience. He competed in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics while Berna has no such experience.

Conlan has not faced significant opposition at this point of his career. He has defeated the likes of Luis Molina and Kenny Guzman.

Berna’s only good win on his resume was against Jozsef Ajtai. He stepped up in competition twice and was stopped both times. His losses were to Toka Kahn Clary and Oleg Malynovskyi.

Berna should be able to test the chin of Conlan, but Conlan is too much of a polished boxer for Berna to give him problems.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0) vs. Mehdi Amar (34-5-2); Interim WBC Light Heavyweight Title

Oleksandr Gvozdyk is another Ukranian boxer that had a successful amateur career signed by Top Rank Promotions.

Gvozdyk is tall for his weight class, he stands at 6’2” and has a 75 ½” reach. He’s thirty years old and only has a few years left in his prime, but he’s five years younger than his opponent Mehdi Amar.

Amar has only fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. Gvozdyk has been very active and fought twice in 2017 and four times in 2016.

Amar has sixteen stoppage wins on his record and one stoppage loss. He has fought exclusively in Europe during his career and has no notable victories. His losses were to Robert Stieglitz, Nadjib MOhammedi, Mehdi Bouadla, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, and Pierre Moreno.

Gvozdyk has stopped twelve of his opponents and never tasted defeat. He has defeated the likes of Craig Baker, Yunieski Gonzalez, Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency, and Nadjib Mohammedi. Gvozdyk was also a bronze medalist in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

On paper, this is the biggest mismatch of the night. Gvozdyk should be able to win quite easily over the French boxer.

Jose Ramirez (21-0) vs. Amir Imam (21-1); WBC Junior Welterweight Title

The main event of the night will be between the undefeated Jose Ramirez and the one loss prospect Amir Imam.

Ramirez and Imam are about the same height but Imam will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage over Ramirez. Both boxers are in their prime and Imam one year older than Ramirez.

Ramirez has been the busier boxer of the two. He fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. Imam fought twice in 2017 and only once in 2016.

Imam has eighteen stoppage victories and four of his past fights were wins by KO/TKO. His lone loss was a major upset TKO loss to Adrian Granados. He has defeated the likes of Johnny Garcia, Walter Castillo, Yordenis Ugas, Fidel Maldonado Jr.

Ramirez has never tasted defeated but has defeated the likes of Mike Reed, Johnny Garcia, and Issouf Kinda.

Ramirez has the edge in technical skill and competed in the 2012 Olympics. Imam lost to Errol Spence Jr. in the 2012 US Olympic Boxing trials.

This should be a competitive fight and Imam has the power to pull off a surprise victory, but Ramirez should win a close decision.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Lara, Hurd, Imam, Ramirez, Top Rank, ESPN, and more….


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 6th to March 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Lara and Jarrett Hurd to Clash on April 7th

Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, will clash with IBF champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in a highly-anticipated super welterweight title unification live on SHOWTIME (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) as part of an exciting card presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, April 7 from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In the co-main event, Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax will make the first defense of his IBF title against James DeGale in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets of 2017 that saw Truax wrestle the belt from DeGale on his home turf in London last December.

Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, will go on sale Friday, March 16 and be available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.

“This is an action-packed card from top to bottom. The televised card features boxers who all have something significant to gain with a victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The winner of Lara-Hurd will be one step closer to becoming the undisputed 154-pound world champion. In a rematch, Truax gets to re-affirm his position as champion and DeGale has a chance to regain his world championship status. This is the kind of show that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.”

“We take pride in promoting quality events that our audiences always want to see,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This card is going to be another line-up that the fans won’t want to miss. With Lara and Hurd looking to unify their titles and guys going head-to-head in rematches on the undercard, this is sure to be a night of non-stop action.

Lara vs. Hurd is a classic contrast in styles that could force each fighter to raise their game to another level. Lara is a crafty southpaw who relies on his superior boxing skills to confound opponents, while Hurd is a pure pressure boxer-puncher that stalks his opponents and isn’t easily frustrated.

Lara, a Cuban whose nickname is “The American Dream”, is coming off a unanimous decision victory on SHOWTIME over Terrell Gausha in October. Hurd was on the same card and defeated former champion Austin Trout when Trout’s corner stopped the fight in the 10th round. That paved the way for this unification showdown.

The 34-year-old Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), who lives and trains in Houston, Texas, won his world title with a TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo in 2013 and has successfully defended it seven times, which includes wins over Trout, Ishe Smith and Vanes Martirosyan.

“I’m very excited and motivated for this fight and to once again be headlining on the best network in boxing on SHOWTIME, is truly a pleasure,” said Lara. “I look forward to adding another belt to my collection on April 7 and to proving that I’m the best 154-pound fighter out there. Everyone tune-in because you don’t want to miss this unification. It’s going to be a legendary night and one for the history books.”

The undefeated Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a career-defining TKO victory over the former champion Trout in his last fight on Oct. 14. It was the first defense of the title for the 27-year Hurd of Accokeek, Maryland, who won the championship with a TKO victory over Tony Harrison on Feb. 25, 2017.

“I plan on being the aggressor for the entire fight, so I’ve been doing some exercises and working on techniques to improve my foot work so that I can stay on top of Erislandy Lara,” said Hurd. “We are not trying to go to the scorecards, so hopefully, I can be the first man to stop him, which I hope to do in the later rounds.

“I called him out, and now, it has come to pass that I get to become a unified champion against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that’s Erislandy Lara.”

They call 34-year-old Truax “Golden”, and he punched his ticket to world title gold while on a trip to London in December, when he defeated DeGale by majority decision. Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) of Osseo, Minnesota was on a two-fight win streak heading into the match against DeGale. Before that his only losses came against former champions Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs and Jermain Taylor.

“They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around,” Truax said. “I am planning to really just beat up James Gale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.’

“Fighting in Las Vegas for the first time will be a very cool experience and I expect it to be friendlier than it was in London. There is a lot of pride on the line for me, being that I’m the first boxing world champion from Minnesota in a long time. So there is a lot on the line for me and I plan to keep that going, especially as a means for supporting my family.”

The 32-year-old DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) was the first British boxer to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics (2008 Beijing Games) and a world championship as a professional. He won his world title with a unanimous decision over Andre Dirrell in 2015 and made two successful defenses before fighting to a draw against Badou Jack on Jan. 14, 2017. It was a brutal standoff between two world champions, but neither man had his hand raised in victory. DeGale, who was coming off of an injury, had his home town crowd behind him but couldn’t deliver a win as Truax scored a stunning upset with the majority decision victory.

‘I’m happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title,” said DeGale. “I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance, actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on SHOWTIME again. The real JD will be back on fight night!”

Amir Imam Preparing for Jose Ramirez

Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) is in Pompano Beach, Florida, under the auspices of head trainer Stacy McKinley, in final preparations for his March 17 showdown against Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) from Avenal, California for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight belt Saturday, March 17, at the The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Imam, 27, rated No. 1 by the WBC, boasts a victory by knockout ratio of 86%, including his last three and five of his last seven. Ramirez, 25, WBC No. 3 ranked super lightweight, has stopped 76% of the opponents he has faced, including four consecutive and eight in his last 10 bouts

“Amir Imam is coming to Madison Square Garden, The Mecca of Boxing, in New York City, to take down not only Jose Ramirez but Bob Arum too!” boasted Imam’s promoter Don King. “I can hardly wait for Saturday night. Start the clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock.” T-minus 124 hours 45 minutes till Ramirez-Imam enter the ring, Saturday night . . .

“Yes sir, March 17 is a big day for me and the stakes are real high for both me and him. It’s the first time I get to fight in the Garden and that’s exciting, knowing that greatness has fought there. It’s the first time I am fighting in a main event and first time fighting for a world title,” said Imam. “It’s what I have been working for my whole life and it’s finally here and I’ve got to take advantage of it.

“He’s kind of tall and long just like me, so it’s like seeing each other in the mirror so it is going to be real interesting and it’s going to be an electrifying fight.”

“Ramirez is a tough fighter – a real tough fighter and we know what we’ve got to do to win this fight. If a knockout comes I will take advantage of it but I am not going in there looking for a straight knockout. I have to fight real hard and get the rounds under my belt just in case. He’s been aggressive but he may not come out aggressive – you never know. I just have to be smart in the ring and adjust to things he will be doing.”

“I can definitely match his power, I can box when I have to, and I can fight. I can do a lot of things. I can do whatever it takes to get the W. A lot of fighters these days can’t do that – they are one-dimensional fighters. If I have to box or if I have to slug I can do it. I think I am the toughest guy in the 140-pund divisi

“I can just hear them saying “The New.”

Ramírez vs. Imam will headline a spectacular St. Patrick’s Day boxing extravaganza, The Ramírez – Imam world championship fight will be televised live and exclusively at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. EDT. It will mark the first time Arum and King have battled each other promotionally on the same card since Miguel Cotto defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight world title on March 12, 2011.

ESPN Scores Highest Rated Boxing Fight on Cable Television in 2018 with Saturday Night’s Top Rank on ESPN

Top Rank on ESPN saw Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) retain his WBO featherweight title against Scott Quigg while fighting under a canopy at the rainy StubHub Center, the famed outdoor boxing venue in Carson, Calif. south of downtown Los Angeles. The telecast includes two of 2018’s top five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018, according to preliminary audience results from Nielsen. The Valdez vs. Quigg world championship fight aired live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and streamed live on the ESPN App.

Top Things to Know

• Last night’s telecast was the highest-rated of the three Top Rank on ESPN telecasts in 2018
• Last night’s Top Rank on ESPN featured two of the five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018
• The main event featuring Valdez vs. Quigg averaged a 0.7 metered market rating, while the co-main event featuring undefeated junior lightweights Andy Vences vs. Erick De Leon averaged a 0.8 metered market rating
Top Boxing Overnight Ratings on Cable Television 2018 (By Fight)
03/10/2018
ESPN
VENCES vs. DE LEON
0.8

03/03/2018
SHOWTIME
WILDER vs. ORTIZ
0.8

03/10/2018
ESPN
VALDEZ vs. QUIGG
0.7

01/27/2018
HBO
MATTHYSSE vs. KIRAM
0.7

03/03/2018
HBO
KOVALEV vs. MIKHALKIN
0.7

The next Top Rank on ESPN is this Saturday, March 17 and features top-rated contenders José Ramírez and Amir “Young Man” Imam fighting for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight world title. Ramirez vs. Imam will headline a St. Patrick’s Day at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The event also features Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KO’s), from Belfast, who begins his sophomore professional year exactly where he started his freshman year — at The Garden. The Ramirez vs. Imam world championship event will live and exclusively at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. ET.

Witherspoon Decisions Capers in Atlantic City

Chazz Witherspoon raised his winning streak to eight in a row as he went the eight-round distance by won a unanimous decision over Lamont Capers that headlined a seven-bout card at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.

The show, which took place this past Saturday, was promoted by Mis Downing Promotions and Silverspoon Promotions.

Witherspoon was able to outpoint the crafty Capers. Capers was very competitive, but it was Witherspoon’s size and harder punches that proved to be the difference as he captured the via 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 scores.

Witherspoon of Paulsboro, NJ is now 37-3. Capers, who was fighting for the 2nd time in seven days is 9-12-4.

Willis Lockett took a six-round majority decision over Prince Badi Ajamu in a cruiserweight bout.

Lockett of Takoma Park, MD won by scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57, and is now 16-22-6. Ajamu of Camden, NJ is 28-4-1.

Super Lightweight John Bauza remained undefeated with a six-round unanimous decision over David Morales.

Bauza of North Bergen, NJ won on all cards by scores of 60-54, and is now 9-0. Morales of Managua, Nicaragua is 13-9.

Mike Hilton won a three-round technical unanimous decision over Hector Perez.

The fight was a terrific back and forth brawl when Perez suffered a cut over his right eye in the third frame.

Perez almost made a quick night for himself as he dropped Hilton in the 1st round. Hilton stormed back to register his own knockdown’s in round two and three.

The scores were 28-26 on all cards at the time of the stoppage.

Hilton of Trenton, NJ is 10-0. Perez of Pleasantville, NJ is 3-2

Edgar Cortes won a four-round unanimous decision over Kevin Asmat in a featherweight bout.

Scores were 38-37 twice and 39-36 for Cortes, of Vineland, NJ, who is now 6-4. Asmat of North Bergen. NJ is 3-2.

Alejandro Jimenez made a successful pro debut with a 2nd round stoppage over Derrick Pitts in a bantamweight bout.

The time of the finish was 3:00. Pitts is 0-2.

Dan Murray and Latorrie Woodberry fought to a no-contest when Woodberry hurt his shoulder in the 1st round of their scheduled four-round welterweight bout.

“I am ecstatic about Saturday night’s card,” said Mis Downing of Mis Downing Promotions. “The fights were terrific and very competitive. I want to thank the Claridge Hotel and a special thanks to The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. I also want to thank Mayor Frank Gilliam for supporting our event. We are excited about what is to come in the future, and we will have a very big announcement shortly about our next event, which will be a very special night of boxing.”

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Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez Lackluster Title Reign in Need of a Big Fight


By: Bryant Romero

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez’s reign as WBO King in the super-middleweight division has been lackluster and in dire need of a big fight. Ramirez (37-0, 25 KOs) defended his world title for a third consecutive time, stopping an over-matched Habib Ahmed (25-1-1, 17 KOs) in the sixth round of a one-sided affair in Corpus Christi this past Saturday. To Ramirez’s credit, it was his first stoppage win in almost 4 years as he battered Ahmed from pillar to post. The cornermen of Habib had to come in and save him as referee Laurence Cole had another bad night when it comes to his judgment in stopping a fight.

While Zurdo did stop a previously undefeated opponent coming in, Ahmed had never fought outside of his homeland in Ghana, never fought someone of note, and appeared to be the much smaller man of the two. It was an easy showcase defense for Zurdo and not the type of win that can make him a bigger star, but he did what he was suppose to do in dispatching an over-matched opponent.

Now the question is where does Zurdo go from here? It hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing since becoming a world champion. After dominating veteran Arthur Abraham in Las Vegas almost two years ago to acquire his first world title, Ramirez looking to build momentum on that win would be sidelined with an injury that would keep out of the ring for over a year. Not only was his momentum lost from his title winning victory but to make matters worse his first defense of his title against Ukraine’s Max Bursak was very forgettable affair. Since he’s defeated a previously undefeated Jessie Hart and now the stoppage win over Habib Ahmed this past weekend.

Zurdo hasn’t faced a murderer’s row of opponents as champion but one has to wonder can Bob Arum who promotes Ramirez deliver a big fight for this kid in the super middleweight division? It’s a fractured industry however, and the obvious unification bout with WBC champion David Benavidez seems like a natural to make but is pure fantasy at the moment since PBC/Showtime and Bob Arum rarely do business together.

Arum however, has left hope and even promised Zurdo to try to get him the winner of the World Boxing Super Series Tournament. Potential fights with Chris Eubank, George Groves, or a Callum Smith could be attractive options for Zurdo down the line. In the meantime, Ramirez may have to settle with a possible rematch with Jessie Hart or perhaps a fight with Australian Rohan Murdock. Ramirez however, feels he’s ready for anybody in the division, the question is will he get the chance to prove it against the biggest names at super middleweight?

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ancajas and Ramirez Impress with Stoppage Wins


By: William Holmes

The America Bank Center in Corpus Christie, Texas was the host site for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN offering.

The undercard featured several of Top Rank’s prized prospects. Teofimo Lopez, Jesse Hart, and Jose Benavidez delivered victories as expected on showcase bouts on ESPN News.

The opening bout of the night was between Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1) and Israel Gonzalez (20-1) for the IBF Junior bantamweight title.

Many have been comparing Ancajas to Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao. Tonight was the first fight on US soil for Ancajas.

Ancajas, a southpaw, was able to back Gonzalez up with his sharp jab in the first round and scored an early knockdown with looping overhand left. Gonzalez was able to get to his feet and survive the opening round.

Ancajas unveiled his check right hook in the second round and went on the attack more. Gonzalez was able to land a few good shots in the third round, but Ancajas aggressive style was eerily similar to Pacquiao and was effective.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter

Ancajas had doubled the number of punches landed by the fourth round and had Gonzalez stumbling in the fifth from a straight left hand.

Ancajas was steady and consistent in the sixth through eighth rounds, landing straight lefts almost at will and constantly testing the chin of Gonzalez.

Ancajas looked extremely comfortable in the ninth round and was landing almost at will. A straight right by Ancajas in the tenth round hurt Gonzalez which was followed by a straight left hand that sent him back to the mat.

He bounced on his feet for the referee when he rose before the count of ten, but Ancajas immediately followed that with a hard left hook that sent Gonzalez falling back down to the mat.
The referee immediately stopped the fight at 1:50 of the tenth round.

The main event of the night was between Gilberto Ramirez (36-0) and Habib Ahmed (25-0-1) for the WBO Super Middleweight Title.

Ramirez height advantage was glaring and Ramirez opened up with a good straight left hand. Ahmed was able to land a few shots of his own and looked like he game to exchange, but Ramirez was landing more combinations and heavy shots to the body.

Ahmed was short with most of his combinations in the second round and kept a tight guard for most of the round. Ramirez’s uppercuts were getting through.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter

Ramirez suffered a cut above his left eye n the third round from a headbutt. Ramirez had Ahmed worn out by the third round and looked badly hurt.

Ramirez was snapping the head of Ahmed in the third round and battered him from corner to corner. The domination continued into the fifth round as Ahmed was just running away looking to survive.

Ramirez continued to land hard and heavy shots while Ahmed threw nothing in return in the sixth round. The referee looked close to stopping the fight several times before Ahmed’s corner finally told the referee to stop the fight.

Gilberto Ramirez was dominant with a knockout victory at 2:31 of the sixth round.

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Top Rank on ESPN Results: Ramírez Stops Reed in Two; Beterbiev Cruises to IBF Title


By Eric Lunger

Jose Ramírez is easy to like – a 2012 Olympian, a fighter who brings an exciting come-forward style to the ring, and a man who supports his central California roots with more than just talk. Tonight’s card on ESPN from the Save Mart Center on the campus of Fresno State was not only the seventh “Fight for Water Rights,” an event that raises money and awareness for the California Latino Water Coalition, it was also a great night of action. Ramírez (20-0, 15 KOs) risked his mandatory position for the WBC super lightweight belt against a very technically proficient southpaw in Maryland’s Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed (23-0, 12 KOs), while much avoided knockout puncher Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) took on Enrico Kölling (23-1, 6 KOs) of Germany for the IBF light heavyweight title, recently vacated by Andre Ward.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions

Having grown up in central California, Ramírez has remained connected to the community both as a citizen and a professional boxer. The 13,838 fans in the arena were, predictably, loud and passionate as Ramírez made his way to the ring. Reed gave up four inches in height and almost six inches in reach, but the Waldorf, MD, native came into the proverbial lion’s den with a plan to box and weather the early storm.

Both fighters were active in the first round, with Ramírez doing better work, especially with left hooks to the body. Reed, as is his way, was calm and poised, maintaining his defense and countering when and where he could.

In the second, Reed’s lead right hook caught Ramírez coming in, but then Ramírez — just as suddenly — caught Reed with a short right hand, hurting him and forcing a knock down. Reed took the count, but was still in trouble. After a second knockdown, and with 1:17 to go in the round, referee Jack Reiss, after watching Ramírez unload on Reed for about ten seconds straight, waved the fight off. Just like that, and on one punch, Ramírez seized control and gave Reed no chance to regain his equilibrium.

In the co-main event, Russian-born, Montréal based Artur Beterbiev came into the ring with record of eleven knockouts in eleven pro fights. In a cautious and uneventful bout, the Russian dominated every round. Kölling took few risks, fought with a high guard, and was on his back foot the whole night. For his part, Beterbiev was content to score with his jab, offering little variety in the way of offense.

Only in the twelfth round did Beterbiev put his motor into a high gear. He began to let his hands go in earnest and, with 40 seconds left, he knocked Kölling down twice. The referee waved the fight off without administering a count, a bit of a gift to Beterbiev, who thus keeps his knockout streak.

You know that feeling when you watch a professional and exploratory first round? Both fighters just getting their range and maybe trying to figure out a few things about the other guy? They go back to their corners, and you’re pretty certain that things will open up in the next round. Well, the first eleven rounds were more or less like that tentative, eventless first round.

Regardless, Beterbiev picks up the IBF belt and now must figure in any conversation with the other kingpins of the division: Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Eleider Alvarez, Sullivan Barrera, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and Badou Jack.

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Ramírez vs. Reed and Beterbiev vs. Kölling Headline ESPN Card


​By: Eric Lunger

Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed (23-0, 12 KOs) looks to make a statement in the super lightweight division this Saturday night as he takes on Jose Carlos Ramírez (20-0, 15 KOs), an undefeated number 3 world ranked contender and former 2012 US Olympian. Reed, a five-foot six southpaw from Waldorf, MD, had a stellar amateur career. He has been brought along carefully as a professional. Now, with Terence Crawford moving up to welterweight, the 140-pound division is open for a number of fighters to make an impact, and 24-year-old Reed hopes to be one of them.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing

Ramírez, 25, hails from Avenal, CA, and is riding a three fight KO streak. With significant amateur background as well, and with trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, Ramírez made the transition to the professional ranks with ease. At five-foot ten, Ramírez is tall and rangy, and he will look to maximize his height and six-inch reach advantage. With a classic Mexican style, expect the California native to stand in the middle of the ring and throw. In his last outing, Ramírez stopped Jake Giuriceo (20-5-1, 5 KOs) with an onslaught of left hooks to the body and punishing overhand rights.

Mike Reed, on the other hand, is a calm and deliberate fighter. He likes to figure out his opponent in the ring, and then go to work on perceived weaknesses. The matchup is an intriguing one: aggressive puncher in Ramírez versus deliberate southpaw tactician in Reed. Conditioning and experience in the late rounds could be issues for both fighters. Reed has had only two ten-round bouts (both went the distance and both were unanimous decisions), whereas Ramírez has gone the distance only once in his professional career. Headlining an ESPN card will also add pressure and nerves for both guys. There is a lot at stake: both fighters undefeated, both looking for a title shot in the wide open super lightweight division.

In the co-main event, Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs), a Russian-born fighter who resides in Montréal, Canada, takes on Enrico Kölling (23-1, 6 KOs) of Berlin, Germany, for the vacant IBF light heavyweight world title. Beterbiev, as his record indicates, is a fearsome knockout puncher, and he has claimed that former champion Andre Ward vacated the title rather than face his mandatory title challenge. Be that as it may, Kölling has fought only in Germany, and once in South Africa. He will have his hands full Saturday night, as Beterbiev packs dangerous power in both hands. What Kölling does have in his favor is experience, which he will need, having gone the full twelve-round distance three times in his career. The German is also well versed in the European amateur ranks, which may prepare him for a fighter of Beterbiev’s caliber. Whether he is prepared for Beterbiev’s pressure and power is another question.

The venue is the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA, making this a home fight for Ramírez, who sold out the building last December. Tickets may be purchased at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 800 or at the Save Mart Center Box Office.

Both fights will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Valdez, Conlan, and Ramirez Entertain and Win


By: William Holmes

Tucson Arena in Tucson, Arizona was the host site for tonight’s broadcast of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and featured two world title fights which featured two popular Mexican boxing stars.

The co-main event of the night was between Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Jessie Hart for Ramirez’s WBO Super Middleweight Title and the main event was between Oscar Valdez and Genesis Servania for Valdez’s WBO Featherweight Title.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing

The undercard featured several up and coming prospects, including Irish Olympian Michael Conlan. Tonight’s card was supposed to start on ESPN, but the baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers ended later than expected and the fight card started on ESPN News.

Michael Conlan (3-0) opened up the telecast against Kenny Guzman (3-0) in the featherweight division in a six round bout.

Conlan has 340 fights as an amateur compared to 47 amateur fights for Kenny Guzman, who also works a full-time carpenter.

The first round was more of a feeling out round as Guzman was able to land some decent shots but Conlan was clearly the better technical boxer. Conlan switched to a southpaw stance midway through the first round with some moderate success.

Conlan switched back into an orthodox stance and was sitting on his punches more in the second round. Guzman’s left eye was showing signs of swelling and blood was coming from his nose as he was taking some heavy shots from Conlan. Conlan landed a heavy right hand in the final ten seconds of the second round that sent Guzman falling backwards to the mat. He was able to get back up before the count of ten but was still wobbly and the referee waived off the fight.

Michael Conlan wins by TKO at 2:59 of the second round.

The next fight of the night was for the WBO Super Middleweight Title between Jesse Hart (22-0) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0).

Ramirez was slightly taller than Hart, who was active with his jab early on. Hart was very active while circling and was able to stay on the outside in the opening round.

Hart continued to stay active with his jab into the second round and appeared to be a little hesitant of Ramirez’s power. Hart had a habit of ducking his head low when he gets in tight and Ramirez was able to take advantage of that with a short right uppercut that sent Hart crashing to the mat. Hart was able to get back to his feet and survive the round, but he was badly hurt.

Hart had a decent third round and was given time to recover from a low blow by Ramirez, but Ramirez had an excellent fourth round and appeared close to stopping Jesse Hart several times during that round.

Ramirez kept up the pressure in the fourth and fifth rounds and was landing a high number of power shots. Hart was able to slip in a few shots of his own, but he also lost his balance several times in the corner of the ring.

Hart may have stolen some of the middle rounds from the sixth round to the ninth as he was able to land some decent counter shots and avoid getting hurt again. Hart had a very strong ninth round with good straight right hands, but Ramirez showed a strong chin and was able to continue to walk forward.

Both boxers left everything in the ring in the championship rounds with both boxers landing heavy blows and absorbing heavy punishment. But Ramirez ended the final round as the aggressor.

It was an entertaining and competitive bout. The judges scored it 115-112, 115-112, and 114-113 for Gilberto Ramirez.

The main event of the night was between Oscar Valdez (22-0) and Genesis Servania (29-0) for the WBO Featherweight Title.

Servania is a Filipino boxer who trains in Japan. This was his first professional fight outside of Asia.

Servania showed a lot of head movement early on and had some success with his left hook, but Valdez was far more active and was landing good shots to the body.

Valdez was in control in the second and third rounds and simply out landed the constantly coming forward Servania.

Servania was able to score a flash knockdown in the fourth round on Valdez as he was backing away with his hands down. Valdez was in some trouble at the end of the round when Servania was able to catch him off guard with a good combination.

Valdez turned the tide of the fight back in his favor in the fifth round when a clean left hook sent Servania crashing to the mat. Servania was able to get back to his feet and slug it out with Valdez as the round came to an end, but he was badly hurt.

Servania may have stolen the sixth round with a round ending combination, but Valdez outworked Servania for most of the round. Valdez appeared settled in the seventh round and was the more aggressive fighter.

Valdez’s body work won him the eighth round and he was cruising by the ninth. Sevania, to his credit, never stopped coming forward despite the constant barrage of punches.

Servania was reaching for his punches in the tenth and eleventh round and never had Valdez in trouble. Vadez just continued to pile up the points by throwing at Servania whenever he got in range.

The final round was exciting as Servania came right at Valdez to exchange to start the final round and took several risks throughout, but his punches just weren’t powerful enough to hurt Valdez or put him down again.

Oscar Valdez defends his title with scores of 116-110, 119-111, 117-109.

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Philly’s Jesse “Hard Work” Hart – Put up or Shut Up Friday


By: Ken Hissner

This Friday over ESPN former Philly 2012 Olympic alternate Jesse “Hard Work” Hart brings his 22-0 (18) record to the Convention Center in Tucson, AZ, challenging WBO Super middleweight champion Mexican southpaw Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, 35-0 (24).

Both boxers are promoted by Top Rank who along with Peltz Boxing and Zapari Boxing Promotions. This will be the second defense by Ramirez who won the title in April of 2016. Hart had been managed by D&D Promotions with Doc Nowicki and Dave Price for his entire professional career whose contract ran out recently. There was no comment’s from neither one to this writer upon asking them. Nowicki along with Jim Williams had Mike Jones right up to a title fight when he turned on both of his co-managers insisting they not be in the locker room or on the flight. Jones lost twice in a row and hasn’t pick many fights. The following are some of the comments from Philly area people:

“Only that Jesse is one of the hardest working, most focused fighters I know. He puts 110% into every work out,” said Frank Conto. Conto’s son one of the top amateurs in the country is a regular sparring partner of Hart’s.

Another comment from IBHOF promoter and co-promoter of Friday’s event, “It’s a question of whether or not Jesse’s intensity can last 12 rounds if he has to,” said J Russell Peltz. “Very very hot fight in Tucson Friday night. Jesse Hart promises to win as does Zurdo. Jesse says he is a Philly fighter like his father “Cyclone” and this will be a total action title fight.

“Zurdo” a great champion and is irritated with Hart’s pre-fight fireworks and says he will drive Hart straight down into the canvas,” said Lee Samuels, PR for Top Rank.

From Fight News writer, “If Jesse Hart can win the world title, he has the potential to be a true super star. He has the charisma, the personality and the smile of a true celebrity,” said John DiSanto (Philly Boxing History).

“Jesse has been able to stay focused throughout his illustrious amateur career all the way to his first world title fight. Winning the WBO Super middleweight title fight can be the best way he can honor his father, legendary Philly middleweight Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and pay homage to his trainer the great Fred Jenkins, Sr.,” said George Hanson.

“The belt is coming back to Philadelphia, the Capitol of Boxing. Gilberto is going down faster than the Titanic,” said George Hanson.

Hart is a very outspoken individual and was hard to pin down at the most recent boxing event in Philly. His trainer Fred Jenkins, Sr., had this to say “He has gone through trials and tribulations and is ready to go 12 rounds if needed,” said Jenkins.

KEN HISSNER: It’s been 5 years since getting short changed from the 2012 Olympic boxing team while fighting on even terms at the Olympic trials when he drew with now unbeaten middleweight Terrell Gausha, 20-0 (9), and split with Luis Arias, 12-0 (9) earlier in his career. You were out voted by 3-2 at the trials after becoming held to a points tie. Has this helped your drive to a championship?

JESSE HART: Yes it has.

KEN HISSNER: Who will be in your corner Friday?

JESSE HART: My father (Cyclone Hart), Fred Jenkins Sr and William Chivas.

KEN HISSNER: Do you think Top Rank who promotes both you and Zurdo held this title fight up?

JESSE HART: Yes I do.

KEN HISSNER: Any predictions?

JESSE HART: No.

Hart is flamboyant and a “Monster” in the gym I am told. His showings as a professional have not been sensational so for his sake hopefully it will all be on the line Friday. The “Philly Jinx” continues with no world champion’s today so possibility that will all change come Friday night! Ramirez hasn’t exactly been a world beater since winning the title. Both Hart and Ramirez have had hand injuries cutting down on their activity since 2016.

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Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card


Stevenson, Ramirez, Valdez Win In Top Rank’s Saturday PPV Card
By: Sean Crose

Olympic star Shakur Stevenson debuted in winning fashion Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Edgar Brito, who entered the ring with a record of 3-2 was being overwhelmed when a headbutt stopped the fight at the end of the fifth round of the scheduled six round affair. The early stoppage led to a sooner than hoped for judge’s decision. Needless to say, all three judges gave the nod to Stevenson. It may not have proven to be the explosive debut Stevenson or his team at Top Rank promotions had probably hoped for, but it was a win nonetheless.

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Next up was Gilberto Ramirez, who, at 34-0, was stepping into the ring to face 34-4-1 Max Bursak for the WBO super middleweight strap. Ramirez appeared sharp in the first, landing effectively. The second, however, looked to be a closer affair. Still, it was obvious that Ramirez was the better of the two fighters. In fact, Bursak’s only true moments of note were when he was deducted points in the fifth and eleventh rounds for holding. Long story short, Ramirez, who has made it clear for a while now that he’d love to fight middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin, won by unanimous decision.

It was time for the 21-0 Oscar Valdez to defend his WBO featherweight strap again the 25-1 Miguel Marriaga in front of the StubHub crowd of over five thousand people. Suffice to say, the fight was close, with Valdez having a slight edge over his opponent most of the time, but with Marriaga always staying in the contest. To be sure, several rounds may have been difficult to judge after the first. It was most certainly an action fight. And it remained one until the very end. Afterwards, Valdez was awarded a unanimous decision win – one that, although fair of the surface of things – may have been a bit too wide in favor of the champion.

The card, which aired on PPV courtesy of Top Rank promotions, certainly won’t break any records. It’s been said that even Top Rank honcho Bob Arum knows this won’t come out a financial barnburner. Still, the entertaining man event made the evening a success. It also added to the allure of the StubHub Center, which now has a reputation for being the home of high octane fights with lots of fireworks. Too bad fans couldn’t watch Saturday’s bouts without digging inside their wallets.

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Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga


Top Rank PPV Preview: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, Gilberto Ramirez vs. Max Bursak, Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga
By: William Holmes

Bob Arum’s “three amigos”; Oscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramirez, and Jessie Magdaleno will compete on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson California on Pay Per View (PPV). This PPV will be produced and distributed by Top Rank Promotions without the assistance of HBO or Showtime.

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These three Mexican boxers have been training together in Carson, California in preparation for this bout and are ready to defend their titles. Also appearing on the undercard will be US Olympian Shakur Stevenson and Ukranian Olympian Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.

The following is a preview of the three televised title bouts.

Jessie Magdaleno (24-0) vs. Adeilson Dos Santos (18-2); WBO Junior Featherweight Title

The first title bout of the night will be between Jessie Magdaleno and Brazilian boxer Adeilson Dos Santos.

Magdaleno has a deep amateur background and was the 2009 US National Champ as an amateur and a National Golden Gloves Champion. Dos Santos has no notable amateur background.

Dos Santos will have about a four inch height advantage and is the same age as Magdaleno. However, Magdaleno has seventeen stoppage wins on his resume while Dos Santos has fourteen stoppage wins, but was also stopped once.

Both boxers have been semi active in the past two years. Magdaleno fought two times in 2016 and three times in 2015 while Dos Santos fought three times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Magdaleno has never tasted defeated while Dos Santos has gone 4-2 in his past six fights.

Magdaleno has beaten the likes of Nonito Donaire, Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castaneda. Dos Santos has no big name wins, and his biggest wins to date have come against opponents such as Devis Perez and Marcos Martinez. Dos Santos has lost to Fabian Oscar Orozco and Kid Galahad.

Dos Santos’ resume is void of big name opponents and his two losses came against fighters that are not considered by most to be world class boxers. He went outside of Brazil to fight twice, and went 1-1 in those bouts.

Magdaleno really let the boxing world he’s the real deal with his impressive victory over Nonito Donaire and has the potential to land some more big name fights in the near future. Dos Santos is an opponent who had success in Brazil, but little success either as an amateur or a professional outside of Brazil.

This should be an easy bout for Magdaleno and it shouldn’t be a competitive fight.

Gilberto Ramirez (34-0) vs. Max Bursak (33-4-1); WBO Super Middleweight Title

Gilberto Ramirez is considered by many to be the next Mexican boxer. Ramirez, who turned pro at the age of eighteen, is the current WBO Super Middleweight Champion. His opponent, Max Bursak, has fought several high profile boxers and is a rugged veteran.
Ramirez will be seven years younger than his opponent and will have two and a half inch height advantage as well as a four inch reach advantage. He also has the power advantage as he has twenty four stoppage wins while Bursak only has fifteen stoppage wins.

Ramirez only fought once in 2016 due to an injury and fought three times in 2015. Bursak fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015. Bursak fights out of an orthodox stance while Ramirez fights as a southpaw.

Neither boxer has a notable amateur background, but Ramirez already has the better resume as a professional.

Ramirez has never tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Arthur Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards, Maksim Vlasov, Junior Talipeau, and Giovanni Lorenzo. Bursak has defeated the likes of Nick Blackwell and Brian Vera. His losses were to Zac Dunn, Martin Murray, Jarrod Fletcher, and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.

This is another bout on this pay per view that shouldn’t be very competitive. Ramirez should beat the elder Bursak easily.

The bigger question is who will Ramirez face next? Arthur Abraham has already indicated that he wants a rematch, and fellow Top Rank Boxer Jesse “Hard Work” Hart has also called out Ramirez.

Oscar Valdez (21-0) vs. Miguel Marriaga (25-1); WBO Featherweight Title

On paper, this appears to be the best and most competitive fight of the night.

Oscar Valdez is an extremely talented boxer with a high level ceiling. He has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2012 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 2009 World Amateur Championships. His opponent, Miguel Marriaga, has no notable amateur background.

Valdez is four years younger than Marriaga but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height and one inch in reach. Both boxers have considerable power in their hands. Marriaga has twenty one knockouts on his resume while Valdez has nineteen. Three of the past five opponents of Marriaga failed to make it to the distance while Valdez is currently riding a win streak of five wins by stoppage.

Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Valdez fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015 while Marriaga fought three times in 2016 and three times in 2015.

Valdez has never been beaten and has defeated the likes of Hiroshige Osawa, Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda, Evgeny Gradovich, Chris Avalos, and Ruben Tamayo. Marriaga’s lone loss was by decision to Nicholas Walters, he has defeated the likes of Eduardo Montoya, Guy Robb, and Christopher Martin.

Oscar Valdez is a joy to watch and this Saturday should be no different. On paper it’s the most competitive fight of the night, but in the ring Valdez should blow out his opponent just like the other two Mexican boxers on the televised card are expected to do.

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