Golden Boy promote on DAZN this Friday night, as former Super Middleweight world champion, Gilberto Ramirez, continues his campaign at Light Heavyweight, taking on gatekeeper Sullivan Barrera in the main event over 12 rounds.
Ramirez (41-0, KO27) holds one of the longest undefeated streaks in the sport, but his career has stagnated somewhat recently due to promotional issues, that he has now ironed out having signed with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year.
‘Zurdo’ built a 25-0 record in his native Mexico before his first appearance in the USA, and it would be a further six wins later before he received a world title shot.
Ramirez won all 12 rounds to take the WBO Super Middleweight title from Arthur Abraham, and the 30-year-old southpaw would make five relatively low key defences, including two tussles with Jesse Hart that he won via close unanimous and majority verdicts.
The Mexican was massive for the weight however, and a move up was a natural. Tommy Karpency was retired after four rounds of Gilberto’s 175 pound debut in April 2019, and in his last fight, he halted Alfonso Lopez in ten rounds.
Barrera (22-3, KO14) is a bonafide Light Heavyweight, and should give Ramirez a decent workout.
Decent wins over Jeff Lacy (TKO4) and Karo Murat (KO5) lead to a meeting with Andre Ward in March 2016, but ‘SOG’ was just too good, and scored a wide points win.
Sullivan rebounded with four straight wins, including an impressive decision win over ten against current WBO champion, Joe Smith Jr, and that gave him a shot at the WBA title.
The Miami-based 39-year-old was stopped in the final round when well behind by Dmitri Bivol in March 2018.
Barrera has only been seen twice since that, a win over Seanie Monaghan was followed by a loss in his last outing, a points loss over ten in June 2019 against common opponent Jesse Hart.
Ramirez has talked about a contest with Bivol before the end of 2021, but first he must deal with what is in front of him this weekend.
Prediction: Ramirez will want to exploit the long layoff of his opponent, and also put himself in the frame for a world title shot, and a stoppage win will certainly help.
‘Zurdo’ is huge at any weight he fights at, and I fancy him to halt Barrera in the second half of the contest.
As if the WBC Lightweight title picture wasn’t clouded enough, Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz (31-1-1, KO15) and Javier Fortuna (36-2-1, KO25) meet in a clash for the interim belt on the undercard here.
The WBC initially ordered Ryan Garcia to defend the belt against Fortuna back in March, but Garcia was forced to withdraw due to ongoing personal issues.
Diaz will be taking part in his first contest at Lightweight, having outgrown Super Featherweight, where he reigned as IBF champion. He defeated Tevin Farmer to win the belt, but was then held to a draw in his last outing and first defence by Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, which prompted the move in weight.
Fortuna is a former WBA champion at Super Featherweight, and has won his last three fights since a split decision loss to Robert Easter Jr in an IBF title contest in January 2018.
The Dominican was last out in November 2020, knocking Antonio Lozado Torres out in six rounds.
I favour Diaz to take this one on the cards.
Two female world title fights are on offer in the preiminaries.
WBO Light Flyweight champion, Tenkai Tsunami (28-12-1, KO16) defends for the fourth time against unbeaten Californian, Seneisa Estrada (20-0, KO8), who moves up after winning the WBA Minimumweight title last time out.
Tsunami is a veteran at 36, and the fresher, 29-year-old Estrada can become new champion with a clear points win.
Japan’s Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, KO7) defends her WBA Flyweight crown against Mexican, Sulem Urbina Ochoa (12-1, KO2), who is coming off a shock eight round points loss in her last fight. Fujioka can retain on the scorecards.
A battle of the unbeaten at Lightweight sees Hector Tanajara (19-0, KO5) and William Zepeda (22-0, KO20), lock horns over a scheduled ten.
Although a massive puncher, Zepeda still lacks experience and Tanajara has slightly the better seasoning, and can take a points win by staying out of trouble.
Puerto Rican Super Featherweight, Bryan Chevalier (15-1-1, KO12) should have too much for James Wilkins (9-1, KO6) in their ten rounder, and he can win inside schedule.