Undefeated Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will risk his upcoming title shot in a 10-round fight against Gevorg Khatchikian, of the Netherlands, making his U.S. debut, Friday, November 20, at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Ramirez vs. Khatchikian will be televised live on The MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. The telecast will open with a 10-round junior lightweight rumble between once-beaten Ivan “Bam Bam” Najera of San Antonio and unbeaten Saul “Kid Dynamite” Rodriguerz, of Riverside, Calif.
These young warriors boast a combined record of 88-2 (55 KOs) – a winning ratio of 98 percent with close to 2/3 of those victories coming by way of knockout.
“This is the second time that I have fought in Las Vegas. When I was younger I dreamed of fighting in Las Vegas because it was the boxing capital of the world where the best events took place,” said Ramirez. “November 20th is a memorable date for Mexico. I am dedicating this fight to all Mexicans. I have been training more than a month because this fight is so important. I’ve been promised a world championship fight if I win this one, so I am preparing like this is a world championship fight. It is do or die for me and my career to win and to have the opportunity to make history by becoming the first Mexican to win a super middleweight world title in this division.”
“I am going to the U.S. to be recognized as an elite fighter,” said Khatchikian. “My opponent Gilberto Ramírez is a quality fighter, but I promise I will put on the performance of my life and beat him. On November 20th, the world will know who Gevorg Khatchikian is.”
“I know I have a very talented fighter in front of me. I am preparing myself like never before,” said Rodriguez. “I will give all boxing fans a very exciting fight and guarantee those in attendance and those watching on truTV a great performance. I do want to thank Top Rank, Cameron Dunkin, truTV and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for this great opportunity.”
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially in Las Vegas, against another undefeated opponent,” said Najera. I am ready to take my place back after the loss with Felix Verdejo. And, I’m very happy it will be on truTV, which gives my family and everyone that can’t make it to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas a chance to watch it.”
“Saul and our team are taking this fight very seriously. I know Najera is a very dedicated fighter with tremendous skills,” said Rodriguez’s trainer Robert Garcia. “We want to thank Top Rank and Cameron Dunkin for this opportunity. We want to show the world that Saul Rodriguez is a future world champion.”
“Gilberto gets better and better with each outing,” said Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank. “We expect a great challenge from Gevorg Gilberto will have to be at his best to beat him and secure his long-awaited title shot in the early part of 2016. Najera vs. Rodriguez is one of those can’t miss matchups. We’ve seen what Najara is all about with his battle last June against Verdejo. Saul is an excellent puncher but will need more than that competing at the next level, which this showdown truly is. Fight fans attending at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas or watching at home on truTV are in for a great night of action, kicking off an exciting weekend of world class boxing.”
Ramirez (32-0, 24 KOs), a two-fisted super middleweight wrecking machine who hails from Mazatlan, Mexico, is the top world-rated contender in the WBO and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) rankings and is world-rated No. 2 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Council (WBC). A sensational young contender, Ramirez, 24, has won four of his last six bouts by knockout. Last year featured his career-best performances which included an NABF and North American Boxing Organization (NABO) title victory over Giovanni Lorenzo via fifth-round stoppage, a WBO International title knockout victory over Junior Talipeau and a successful defense of his NABF and WBO International titles, stopping Fulgencio Zuniga in the eighth round. This year he has scored 10-round unanimous decision victories over once-beaten Maxim Vlasov and division gate keeper Derek Edwards, who boasts a KO victory over world champion Badou Jack, on January 24 and June 26, respectively.
Khatchian (22-1, 10 KOs), 27, from Heerlen, Netherlands, has a fighting style that features strong boxing skills and excellent movement. Five of his last six victories have come by way of knockout. The lone blemish on his professional resume is an 11th-round TKO by future world champion James DeGale last year. A strong amateur background, Khatchian produced a 99-11 record, which included a gold medal victory in the 2005 Dutch National Championships.
Rodriguez (18-0-1, 13 KOs), from Riverside, California, has gone the distance just twice in his last 10 fights, a testament to his one-punch knockout power and his ring name, “Kid Dynamite.” Trained by 2012 “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia, Rodriguez, 22, returns to the ring for the fourth time this year having already claimed victories over Ramsey Luna, Antonio Capulin and Carlos Rodriguez, who had a combined record of 35-4 when he defeated them.
Najera (16-1, 8 KOs), from San Antonio, TX, is known for his crowd-pleasing aggressive style of fighting and good punching power. Texas boxing fans have been flocking to his fights because he delivers all-action performances. Najera, 24, made his national television debut on February 7, winning a unanimous decision over veteran Robbie Cannon in Najera’s toughest professional fight to date. He followed that with his HBO debut in a battle of unbeaten contenders, losing a spirited 10-round decision to 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian and No. 3 world-rated Felix Verdejo at Madison Square Garden on June 16.