Tag Archives: ramirez

Top Rank Boxing Results: Ramirez Squeaks Past Zepeda In Front Of Hometown Crowd


By: Sean Crose

Japan’s Hiroki Okada, 19-0, faced the popular vet Raymundo Beltran, 35-8-1, in a scheduled 10 round junior welterweight affair at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California on a Sunday night card aired live on ESPN. The first round was close, but Okada was landing more effectively. Beltran sent his man to the mat in the second, courtesy of a mean left. Okada got up on an eight count and didn’t appear badly hurt. Yet, in the final minute of the round, it was Beltran who got rocked by an Okada right. Beltran seemed to be getting an edge heading to the halfway mark. Okada, however, looked a bit sharper than Beltran in the 6th.

Okada continued to impress in the seventh, courtesy of a sharp jab and effective use of range. The fight continued on at a relatively exciting pace. In the ninth, however, things ended in explosive fashion. Beltran dropped his man once, but Okada got up. Beltran dropped him again..and referee Jack Reiss wisely stopped the match.

Jose Zepeda walked into the ring a short time later. The 30-1 fighter was facing the 23-0 Jose Ramiez for the WBC junior welterweight title in a scheduled 12 round affair. The southpaw Zepeda boxed quite effectively in the first, sticking and moving and keeping the champion Ramirez from landing hard. Zepeda was able to slick his way through the second, as well. The California native was adhering to an effective game plan. A more aggressive Ramirez seemed to edge the third, though the round could have gone either way. Being a home town fight for Ramirez, one had to assume any round that wasn’t completely dominated by Zepeda might well go to Ramirez.

Ramirez started the fourth very well, but Zepeda took the last portion. The fifth saw Ramirez have his moment, but Zepeda’s effective game plan ended up telling the tale. By the end of the sixth, it was clear that the first half of the bout was a story of ring generalship, where Zepeda employed footwork to dominate his foe. Ramirez was ale to get back in the fight in the seventh, as his punches began to land on a lackadaisical seeming Zepeda. Ramirez was able to land on his man very effectively in the eighth. The ninth saw Ramirez throw the more effective shots again. The fight had become quite close. Zepeda came back and asserted his skill set in the 10th. An exhausted Zepeda took the 11th. A vicious Ramirez took the 12th in a finally rally.

The judges gave the win to hometown fighter Ramirez by scores of 114-114, 115-113, 116-112.

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2018 Upset of the Year: Ramirez Over Zlaticanin


By Jake Donovan

Roberto Ramirez wasn’t supposed to be anything more than the next step in Dejan Zlaticanin’s continued comeback following a devastating knockout loss to Mikey Garcia.

Instead, their June ’18 clash ended with Ramirez scoring a 2nd round stoppage in a result that nobody outside of Ramirez’s camp could’ve ever seen coming.

The Jan. ’17 defeat to Garcia cost the squat southpaw from Montenegro his lightweight title along with his unbeaten record. Still, he entered his intended showcase versus Ramirez 17 months removed from that debacle, still regarded as a Top 10 lightweight and as a huge betting favorite.

A quick hit of Hevinson Herrera on a Dec. ’17 New York City club show provided little more than a confidence boost and means to return to the win column, but at least suggested that he wasn’t damaged goods heading into the new year.

The six months that passed between his win over Herrera and his scheduled June 21st clash with Ramirez on a club show in the Astoria section of Queens, New York was spent further refining his game under trainer Buddy McGirt.

The two hooked up in the months following his loss to Garcia, with the intention of tightening up his defense on the occasions his all-action offensive style didn’t get the job done.

Not even extensive gym sessions with the likes of Adrian Granados or former 140-pound titlist Sergey Lipinets (who along with Zlaticanin is managed by Alex Vaysfeld) could alert the team just how much the Garcia knockout loss took out of the 34-year old southpaw.

Had everyone followed the script, a Zlaticanin win in Queens would’ve likely led to a title eliminator by year’s end and—with any luck—a crack at becoming a two-time lightweight titlist at some point in 2019.

All that he needed to happen here was to show what he can do against a taller, leaner lightweight in Ramirez, who was a mere 17-2-1 at the time and who fell short in his lone other bout outside of his native Mexico. In fact, there was little to suggest in defeats to then-unbeaten Carlos Ocampo and Abel Ramos that there was any cause for concern for an upset.

It’s why Zlaticanin entered the ring as a 45-1 betting favorite for an off-TV bout in Queens that was barely on the boxing radar.

Less than seven minutes after the opening bell, it quickly made the rounds.

Whatever confidence Zlaticanin had left prior to fight night was quickly shattered—along with his jaw, as well as a busted nose for good measure as Ramirez leveraged every bit of his considerable height and reach advantage in the first three minutes of action.

Regardless of whether he’d truly fully recovered from the loss to Garcia, it was plain as day as there was no turning back from the damage sustained in the opening round. Zlaticanin was dropped hard early in round two, a right uppercut leaving him defenseless for an ensuing right hand shot.

A last-ditch effort from the former titlist came in the form of consecutive left hands that briefly stunned Ramirez.

It was the last bit of momentum he’d enjoy in a boxing ring.

Time was called to determine the severity of Zlaticanin’s earlier injuries. By then, Ramirez was fully recovered from the preceding rally and recognized that he had in front of him a mentally spent fighter.

Nine unanswered shots—including non-consecutive right uppercuts and a fight-ending straight right—put Zlaticanin down on the canvas for the second time in the fight. The ease in which the defenseless southpaw hit the deck was more than enough reason for referee Al LoBianco Jr. to wave off the contest without issuing a count.

Far gone by that time was the once-unbeaten lightweight who’d piled up wins over the likes of Petr Petrov, then-former two-division titlist Ricky Burns (who went on to pick up a belt in a third weight class) and then-unbeaten Ivan Redkach all before claiming a lightweight belt.

So, too, was any talk of his returning to the title stage—or even the ring at all.

In comparison to other major upsets in 2018, this was so much more than the boxing public being dealt an unexpected outcome.

It wasn’t a once-highly regarded contender sneaking up on a previously unbeaten middleweight titlist like Rob Brant managed to do in overwhelming Ryota Murata in October.

It wasn’t Cristofer Rosales picking off the remaining carcass of a weight-drained—and still heavy—Daigo Higa to shake up the flyweight picture earlier in the year. Nor was it Rosales being punched back into reality by England’s Charlie Edwards by year’s end.

Tony Harrison’s upset title win over previously unbeaten Jermell Charlo in December surprised many in the industry—perhaps even Harrison himself if immediate in-ring reaction is any indicator. The true shock, however, wasn’t in Charlo being dealt his first loss, but coming in a fight where so few disagreed with the final scores.

On that particular June night in Queens, nobody outside of Ramirez’s corner gave the visiting Mexican journeyman any chance of winning. Certainly not the oddsmakers, who statistically believed Ramirez was less likely to win than Buster Douglas was the night he stunned Mike Tyson in what remains perhaps the biggest upset in modern boxing history.

The lack of profile is all that keeps Ramirez KO2 Zlaticanin out of historical conversation. The final outcome itself, however, is enough to register as the BoxingInsider.com 2018 Upset of the Year.

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Top Rank Boxing Results: Ramirez Defeats Hart


By: Hans Themistode

Gilberto Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) retained his WBO Super Middleweight title with a majority decision nod over Jesse Hart (25-2, 21 KOs) in their rematch Friday night.

Hart fought a much better fight this time around in comparison to their first bout. However he did not do quite enough to sway the judges in his favor tonight.

It was a nip and tuck affair as Hart used his reach advantage to keep Ramirez on the end of his punches. That success wouldn’t last long as Ramirez began to get closer and landed hard shots.

As the rounds went by a similar theme began to develop. Hart would do a good job of boxing and landing effective shots but Ramirez’s constant pressure and volume punching would wear Hart down as the rounds went on.

Towards the later rounds Ramirez aggression suddenly slowed and his punch output diminished as well. It was later found out that Ramirez injured his left elbow. That explained why we seldom saw the champion through a left hook throughout the rest of the contest. When we did see this punch thrown it wasn’t thrown with much aggression. It became clearer and clearer that the champions elbow was causing him serious issues. Hart took advantage by beginning to bank the latter rounds.

In round 11 the challenger was the most aggressive. He pinned the champ on the rope several times and unloaded shots on him. Ramirez responded with punches of his own but it was clear that he lacked the punching power at the moment to keep Hart off of him. The last round is where Ramirez shower true champion mettle. With essentially one hand he was beating his man to the punch by landing big blows.

At the end of the bout the scorecards were 114-114 and two scores of 115-113. It was another very entertaining bout by these fighters. The most intriguing part of this contest was the post fight commentary.

Ramirez revealed his plans to move up the 175 pound weight division. There will be no shortage of big name fighters he will be able to take on. If Ramirez can perform the way he did tonight while sustaining an injury during the contest then the rest of the 175 pound division will need to be on notice.

They seem to have a new intriguing fighter added to the already stacked division.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Preview: Hart vs. Ramirez 2


By: Hans Themistode

WBO Super Middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs) will step into the ring for third time this year when he takes on the man that gave him his toughest bout of his career in Jesse Hart (25-1, 21 KOs). The matchup is scheduled to take place tonight in Corpus Christi Texas at the American Bank Center.

For Ramirez his reign as champion has spanned over two years but has featured underwhelming competition as he was able to blow through his opponents. His first bout against Hart last year however was his toughest to date. The victory presented Ramirez with the best win of his career.

The first fight between these two can be deceiving. Two judges scored the contest 115-112 while the third judge had it 114-113 all in favor of the champion. The nature of the close scorecards did not seem indicative of how the actual bout played out. Although Hart undoubtedly has his moments it was the champion who seemed to be in much more control. An early knockdown in round two for the champion followed by several punishing blows almost forced the referee to put a stop to the contest. The compubox numbers also spoke to the dominance of Ramirez. The champion connected on almost 100 more punches than his opponent, 220 to 132 while also connecting at a higher percentage. In short, Ramirez seemed to dominant.

Since Hart’s decision loss to Ramirez he has gone on to fight three times with all three fights ending in a knockout victory. Hart will not only be looking for his fourth straight stoppage victory of this calendar year but he will also look to even up the score with Ramirez while capturing his first world title.

The motivation for Hart will be at an all time high. Sure he will be looking to avenge the first defeat of his career and yes the thought of becoming a world champion is tantalizing as well but more then anything he will be looking to do so for not just himself but for his father as well. Eugene “Cyclone” Hart was a former top contender at Middleweight in the 1970s but never received his shot at the title. Winning this title would mean so much to not just Jesse but to his father as well.

Ramirez is not only the WBO champ but he may also be the best current Super Middleweight as well. Hart undoubtedly will have a tough task. Ramirez will be looking to make an emphatic statement this time around.

However with the current roll Hart is on along with the motivation that he will bring into this contest it should lead to another great fight tonight.

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Ramirez, Hart Both Insist Nothing Familiar Will Come Of The Sequel


By Jake Donovan

Gilberto Ramirez and Jesse Hart fought each other just 15 months ago, yet both guarantee a limited amount of familiarity when they meet the second time around.

The pair of super middleweights once again collide with Ramirez’ title on the line in their ESPN+ main event this Friday in Corpus Christi. The bout is a rematch to their thriller last September in Tucson, Arizona, with Ramirez riding a 2nd round knockdown and early lead all the way to the finish line in taking a narrow decision.

Hart put up a brave stand in the second half of their contest—which, due to conflicting broadcasts, aired on ESPNews, ESPN2 and finally on ESPN by round seven—but the rally came too late to erase the early deficit. The second-generation boxer from Philadelphia has since fought three times, winning all by knockout.

That level of violence, he promises, is the version that will arrive on Friday night.

“We went back, looked at and corrected the little mistakes that cost us in the first one,” Hart (25-1, 21KOs) said on Wednesday during their final pre-fight press conference. “Those little things we fix, you’ll see that change on Friday night.”

The defending titlist not only believes him but is banking on such an adjustment.

“I’m glad to hear he’s ready to fight,” said Ramirez (38-0, 25KOs), the unbeaten 27 year old from Mazatlan, Mexico who attempts the fifth defense of the title he won nearly three years ago. “I’m thrilled the rematch is taking place here in Corpus Christi. The last time I fought here, I had a knockout. I want another knockout on Friday.”

Interestingly, the stoppage to which Ramirez refers—a 6th round drubbing of unbeaten but unheralded Habib Ahmed this past February—is his only bout to end inside the distance over the course of his title reign which began with an April ’16 points win over Arthur Abraham. In fact, his previous knockout victory also took place in Texas, coming more than four years ago in halting Fulgencio Zuniga in eight rounds in San Antonio.

Ramirez has since been extended the distance in seven of his last eight starts, none tougher than his fending off a determined Hart in their first meet. Just two fights have followed for the defending titlist; the aforementioned stoppage victory over Ahmed and a 12-round virtual shutout of unbeaten Roamer Alexis Angulo this past June in Oklahoma City.

Still, a statement-making performance awaits or so promises the super middleweight division’s longest-reigning titlist.

“I agree with my opponent, this rematch will be different,” Ramirez notes, though of course with a twist. “It will be one-sided, and all on my side.”

For the challenger, a win would mean much more than bumping off an incumbent titlist.

Hart’s father, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart was an integral part of the thriving Philadelphia fight scene during his heyday as a middleweight contender in the 1970s. His noted punching power has left historians to regard him as among the hardest hitters in boxing history; however, it never translated into a championship or even a shot at a major title.

Now battling health issues and not even to serve his role as his son’s head trainer, the next generation has made it his duty to bring greater honor to the already revered family name.

“It would mean everything to win this belt,” Hart admits. “Ever since I started boxing, me and my dad, we never dreamed of nothing else but being a world champion.

“I’m very blessed and very humbled by this opportunity I have again. I’m just going to go out there and put on the best performance I possibly can to bring home the victory. Come Friday, you are going to see a completely different version coming for this title.”

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ramirez and Herring Win Convincingly


Jose Ramirez didn’t want the hometown fans to leave unhappy. In front of a crowd of 11,102 at the Save Mart Center on Friday evening, Avenal native Ramirez retained the WBC super lightweight world title with a unanimous decision against fellow unbeaten Antonio Orozco. The scores were 119-107 3X.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Ramirez (23-0, 16 KOs) knocked Orozco down with a crisp right hand in the fourth round and found success with his left hook throughout the bout. In the eighth round, Ramirez scored a knockdown with a left hook to the liver and nearly finished Orozco at the end of the round.

“This was an excellent fight, and Antonio Orozco is a true warrior,” Ramirez said. “We put it out there, and Antonio was a very tough opponent who gave it his all. A special thanks to all the people in Fresno who showed their support tonight.”

Ramirez won the belt with a hard-fought unanimous decision against Amir Imam back in March. For his first title defense, he took on a previously undefeated challenger in Orozco (27-1, 17 KOs), who on paper represented the toughest test of his career. Ramirez and Orozco went toe-to-toe and produced a championship bout for the ages.

Flanked by his Marine comrades on his way to the ring, 2012 U.S. Olympian and Marine Corps veteran Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (18-2, 10 KOs ) notched the most significant win of his carer, defeating John Vincent Moralde (20-2, 10 KOs) by 10-round unanimous decision (100-90 3X) to win the vacant USBA junior lightweight title.

“I wanted to show that I could not only make 130 pounds, but that I could be strong at the weight as well,” Herring said. “Now, I’m that much closer to a world title shot.”

In his biggest test to date, 18-year-old sensation Gabriel Flores Jr. (10-0, 5 KOs) was undeterred by the big stage and the bright lights. Flores, from Stockton, Calif., survived a first-round knockdown to defeat Roger Gutierrez by unanimous decision in a six-round lightweight bout.

The scores were as followed: 59-54, 59-54, and 58-54.
“I could’ve done better, but I was in there against a tough guy. I have no explanation for it, but my legs locked up in the early rounds. I started moving in the last rounds, and my legs were feeling better. I boxed him and got the victory. All I can do from here is learn from this experience.

“I came back strong. I know l will be better next time out.”

In other action:

Vacant USBA Welterweight Title: Alexander Besputin (11-0, 9 KOs), TKO 9, 1:44, Alan Sanchez (20-4-1, 10 KOs).

Besputin said: “I feel very grateful to be signed by Top Rank, the best promotional company in the world. I now want all of the big names at 135, including the winner of Lomachenko and Pedraza.”

Super Lightweights: Hiroki Okada (19-0, 13 KOs), split decision, 10 rounds, Cristian Cora (27-7-2, 11 KOs). Scores: 95-94 Okada, 95-94 Coria, 95-94 Okada.

* Okada knocked down in the 10th round by Coria right hand.

Lightweights: Bryan Vasquez (38-3, 20 KOs), unanimous decision, 10 rounds, Carlos Cardenas (21-15-1, 13 KOs). Scores: 98-92, 96-94, 96-94 .

Vasquez said: “I feel very grateful to be signed by Top Rank, the best promotional company in the world. I now want all of the big names at 135, including the winner of Lomachenko and Pedraza.”

Featherweights: Isidro Ochoa (6-0, 2 KOs), KO 3, 2:14, Elio De Jesus (2-3, 0 KOs).

Super Bantamweights: Santos Ortega (3-0, 1 KO), unanimous decision, 4 rounds, Sebastian Baltazar (1-2, 0 KOs). Scores: 40-36, 40-36, 40-36.

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ESPN Boxing Preview: Ramirez vs. Orozco


By: Ken Hissner

Unbeaten WBC World Super Lightweight champion Jose Carlos Ramirez will defend his title Friday night against No. 3 ranked Antonio “Relentless” Orozco at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.

This will be the first title defense for Ramirez, 22-0 (16) who won the vacant title in March defeating Amir “Young Master” Imam, then 21-1, at Madison Square Garden, New York.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

Orozco, 27-0 (17), from San Diego, CA, last fought in March winning an 8 round decision over Mexico’s Martin “El Brochas” Honorio, 33-13-1. He also defeated him back in May of 2014. He has wins over Emmanuel Taylor, 18-3, Steve Forbes, 35-13, Humberto “Little Fox” Soto, 65-8-2, Abner Lopez, 23-5, Ivan Hernandez, 29-3, and Keandre Gibson, 16-0-1.

Prior to the Imam fight Ramirez defeated Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed, then 23-0. The 26 year-old represented the USA in the 2012 Olympics. He lost in the second round. He won five straight US championships and in the 2011 World Championships in Baku, AZE, he lost in the second round to current WBA Lightweight champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Ukraine’s Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, 16-9. In the 2012 Olympic Qualifier he won a Bronze medal losing to current unbeaten Dominican Wellington Romero, 14-0-1.

As a professional Ramirez won the NABF and WBC Continental Americas titles prior to becoming a world champion. He is trained by Freddie Roach and promoted by Top Rank.

The co-feature has Russian Alexander Besputin, 10-0 (8), living in Oxnard, CA, taking on Mexican Alan Sanchez, 20-3-1, of Fairfield, CA, for the vacant USBA Welterweight title. This has a loaded undercard.
Also, on the card are Japan’s WBO Asia Pacific Super Lightweight champ Hiroki Okada, 18-0 (13), taking on Argentina’s Cristian Rafael Coria, 27-6-2 (11). 2012 USA Olympian southpaw Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, 17-2 (10), of Cinn., OH, taking on Filipino John Vincent “Mulawin” Moralde, 20-1 (10), for the vacant USBA Super Featherweight title.

Costa Rica’s Super Featherweight No. 4 WBA contender Bryan “El Tiquito” Vasquez, 36-3 (20), takes on Venezuela’s Carlos “El Profeta” Cardenas, 23-14-1 (14), living in Mexico. Vasquez in his last bout won the WBA Fedelatin title. He has wins over Sergio Thompson, 30-3, Jose Felix, Jr., 27-0-1, and losses to Javier Fortuna, for the vacant WBA World Super Feather title and “Sugar” Ray Beltran, by majority decision who in his next fight won the WBO World Lightweight title.

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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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