Everything appears fine for Jose Ramirez ahead of his Dec. 5 fight at the Save Mart Center.
The Avenal native and 2012 U.S. Olympian had to miss his last fight date on Sept. 26 at the Tachi Palace and Casino, sidelined by a right thumb injury suffered in sparring at Wild Card Boxing Club in August. He underwent surgery on Sept. 4 in Los Angeles for what was described as a UCL tear.
Ramirez (15-0, 12 KOs) made quick progress, enough to be sparring again – this time with WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, who fights Nov. 21 against Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Shin at the renowned Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center. Shin has worked with Manny Pacquiao and other prominent fighters.
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“Dr. Shin said that Jose healed the fastest of anyone he has seen,” agent/promoter Rick Mirigian said. “Ramirez has looked great and been getting world-class sparring with Miguel Cotto, one of the best fighters in the world. I have seen a different type of focus in Jose for this fight; he knows the stakes and is all business.”
The NABF junior title holder will fight for the WBC Continental Americas super-lightweight title against Johnny Garcia of Holland, Mich. Garcia is 19-3-1 with 11 KOs. Portions of the eight-bout card, dubbed “Fight for Water V,” will be televised on Top Rank’s Solo Boxeo Tecate on UniMas.
The Continental Americas title serves as a steppingstone for a WBC world ranking and a potential upper-tier title shot.
“I got a lot of excitement, but I also have some butterflies in my stomach because now I know I’m stepping up to the next level,” Ramirez said. “I haven’t been nervous in a long time. I feel like being a little nervous will make me sharp in the ring and make me train harder and focus more. Hopefully, everything goes well and I don’t get myself hurt.”
The title was previously held by Amir Imam, who is a mandatory challenger to WBC 140-pound champion Viktor Postal. Past world champions who held Continental Americas titles include Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones Jr.
“This exciting event will help Jose Ramirez get one stop closer to his ultimate goal: a world championship,” Top Rank chief Bob Arum said. “The Save Mart Center is the perfect setting for Jose. We at Top Rank are proud of Jose. He is a future world champion who cares for his community and its fight for water.”
Ramirez has been increasing his training and has extra energy after the arrival of his newborn son.
“Just try to win that title in front of my hometown,” he said. “I know my son is going to be there, and he’s going to give me more motivation, and for me to stay sharp.”
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said “the WBC is honored to be part of this great event in which one of the greatest prospects in recent history tries to conquer the WBC Continental Americas Championship.”
“This is another step toward conquering the dream of all champions to win the Green Belt of the WBC,” Sulaiman said. “Jose Ramirez is a role model inside and outside of the ring, and the WBC feels proud to support his efforts to becoming a champion and will always be in his corner.”
Tickets for the fight: $23-$1,530 and are available at the box office or Save Mart Supermarkets and ticketmaster.com.
Ramirez will lead ‘Operation Gobble’ – Ramirez will help distribute turkeys at noon Nov. 24 at Avenal Veterans Hall, 108 W. King St.
Fans also can meet Ramirez on Nov. 22 and 29 at Vallarta Supermarkets in Fresno, where he will give away tickets to the Dec. 5 bouts.
Lopez trains with Ward – Fresno middleweight Joe Louie Lopez also has been training with a well-known boxer, working out in Hayward with longtime super-middleweight champion Andre Ward for four weeks.
“Training with Andre made me see boxing in a whole new perspective,” Lopez said. “It’s opened my eyes to what my coach has been trying to teach me for the past few years. I’ve learned that the basics and fundamentals will become great at those and everything else comes easily it opens up your opponent to fall under your control.”
Lopez (6-0, 3 KOs) will face Dave Courchaine (2-6, 2 KOs) of Spokane, Wash., at Fight for Water V.