Jose Ramirez was grinning ear-to-ear Thursday thinking what it's going to be like in three weeks when he steps into the boxing ring for the first time in the central San Joaquin Valley since turning pro last year.
"Right around the corner," said Ramirez, who's 6-0 with four knockouts.
On Nov. 9, the Avenal boxer will be fighting about 30 miles from where he grew up when he headlines the "Fight for Water" card at the Golden Eagle Arena on the campus of West Hills College in Lemoore.
Ramirez was joined Thursday by four other local fighters who conducted workouts at Sierra Athletic Club on North Blackstone Avenue in Fresno in advance of the card.
Ramirez said he's excited to finally be able to "showcase my talents in front of family and friends, all those who supported me from Day One."
The fights will be nationally broadcast on Univision's UniMás (the former Telefutura) as part of the Solo Boxeo Tecate season. The rest of the Top Rank fight card is still to be announced. About 40 tickets remain for the event, Ramirez's agent/promoter Rick Mirigian said. All 32 VIP tables are already sold.
The fight card is named "Fight for Water" because Ramirez recently became a spokesman for the Latino Water Coalition, which aims to help resolve the state's water crisis and to promote economic growth.
"Trying to get the message outside of the boxing ring that we need more water in the farming community," Ramirez said. "Thousands of jobs have been lost. ... Hopefully, we create a big voice (on Nov. 9)."
Mario Santoyo of the Latino Water Coalition said his group appreciates the unique forum that the Nov. 9 card gives it.
Other local fighters who will fight on Nov. 9:
Gary Salazar of Fresno, 126 pounds: Salazar will make his pro debut after a successful amateur career where he racked up 130 wins and 12 national titles. "I made a big statement as an amateur, but that's done."
Daniel Valdivia of Tulare, 154s (1-0, 1 KO): Valdivia made his pro debut in August in Laredo, Texas, where he scored a second-round KO.
Luis Ambrosio of Fresno, 123s (2-0): Ambrosio fought in Tijuana recently and came away with a first-round knockout. "This is really important because it's a homecoming fight."
Joe Louie Lopez of Fresno, 165s (1-0, 1 KO): Lopez started boxing 3 1/2 years ago and he's making the best of it. "It is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of a Top Rank event, especially here in the Valley. I'm very proud and honored to be even considered to be on Jose Ramirez's show."
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