WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez is looking for a second successful title defence on Friday night, which comes against undefeated American Jesse “Hard Work” Hart.
Gilberto Ramirez vs Jesse Hart for the WBO super middleweight world title.
Where: Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona, USA
When: Friday 22, September from 9PM ET or Saturday 23, September 2AM UK Time
Gilberto Ramirez (35-0, 24 KOs) meets his WBO mandatory challenger Jesse Hart (22-0, 18 KOs) in a bout between two unbeaten fighters in Tucson, Arizona.
Since becoming world champion in April last year after a convincing unanimous decision over the veteran Arthur Abraham, Ramirez has made one defence against the unheralded Ukranian Max Bursak, in a fight that saw Bursak move up from his usual middleweight weight class. Ramirez retained his WBO title in his first fight in over a year in a ‘shutout’ display, with all three judges scorecards reading 120-106.
After taking his fair share of criticism over this “over-matched” defence against Bursak as part of a Top Rank Pay-Per-View card in Los Angeles, Ramirez is looking to secure his standing on the world stage with a step up in opposition against Jesse Hart.
With the World Boxing Super Series occupying many of the super middleweight threats for the next year, Ramirez’s options have been limited in finding a respectable opponent to pit his 35-0 record against. With WBA champion George Groves and up and coming world title challengers Chris Eubank Jr and Callum Smith (all of the UK) taking part in the WBSS, Ramirez’s choice for an unbeaten opponent for a defence seems a sensible one.
Jesse Hart is coming off the back of two TKO wins over Andrew Hernandez and Alan Campa inside the last 10 months. Hart’s stock rose considerably in 2015 when he fought on the undercard of the Mayweather vs Pacquiao super-fight, and has since captured the USBA super middleweight championship.
Ramirez has told BoxingScene the following in the run-up to this fight:
“We knew it was going to happen, we’ve been asking for it for a long time, but for some reason it did not materialize. He is a young fighter, he has a good record, we are both tall, hungry for victory and I think it will be an explosive fight.”
Ramirez and Valdez looking to defend their WBO straps
Despite having a slight advantage in both height and reach, “Zurdo” Ramirez has shown his ability to keep a perfect range in fights enabling his counter-punching to full effectiveness. His main asset is his strength as a defensive fighter, with new angles being created for the Mexican to pick off his challenger.
In unanimous victories over Bursak, Abraham, Gevorg Khatchikian and Derek Edwards in his last four outings, you could argue that Ramirez hasn’t lost a round in these fights; showing an unconcern about chasing unnecessary knockouts in fights.
With Ramirez under promotional pressure to provide a fight worth topping cards and future Pay-Per-View events, a KO win against an unbeaten fighter like Hart could act as a needed springboard to future big shows, with unifications against David Benavidez and James DeGale not at a promotional level that could attract big numbers just yet.
Despite his record of 22-0, this is a big step up in class for Hart who is yet to add a world-class name to his list of career victories.
Expect Ramirez to have a quiet few opening rounds getting into his stride, but with a defence and counter too sharp for Hart to negate, a comfortable points victory looks likely again for the Mexican.
The undercard sees Oscar Valdez, a former Olympian for Mexico, put his unbeaten record on the line against Filipino Genesis Servania. Hard-hitting, exciting and a real fan favourite, all eyes will be on the WBO featherweight champion as he looks to make his third successful defence.
With thoughts towards a unification against the Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares winner, an impressive win is expected for the Mexican.
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