Jose Ramirez is ready to take the next step in his career, and it likely will be his biggest yet.
The Avenal native proved Saturday he’s ready for a big-name opponent.
Ramirez knocked down Tomas Mendez three times in the first round and landed a flurry of punches in the fourth before referee Jack Reiss signaled the end of the fight as Ramirez won by knockout at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino.
Ramirez retained his WBC Continental Americas title when the bout was stopped 53 seconds into the round.
“I started landing right hands,” Ramirez said, “and trainer Freddie Roach knows I love to work the body. He said to keep setting up with the jab with the 1-2, and the left hook will be there.”
It was Ramirez’s second scheduled 10-round bout, with the first going the distance in April. But Saturday’s bout was a no-doubter for Ramirez (18-0, 13 KOs), who recently sparred with Viktor Postol. Mendez dropped to 22-8.
“I had a great camp, sparring 15 hard rounds with Postol,” he said. “Those were really hard rounds. Postol is a smart, intelligent fighter, as a lot of people are going to find out on July 23.”
Ramirez was referring to Postol’s bout against Terence Crawford in Las Vegas for the WBO/WBC junior-welterweight title unification.
Ramirez said he’ll savor this victory as he heads into his next fight at Save Mart Center in December.
In December, I would like to face someone who was a former world champion or undefeated. I want to finish the year right.
“I already told Top Rank, (promoter/agent) Rick (Mirigian) and Roach that in December I would like to face someone who was a former world champion or undefeated,” he said. “I want to finish the year right. I want to make sure to get the best experience possible, so when I get there I have a knowledge of a world champion.”
Top Rank boss Bob Arum said he’ll grant Ramirez his wish by giving him a bigger-name opponent.
“An opponent that everyone heard of,” Arum said.
Names being tossed around, Arum said, include former WBO junior-welterweight champion Mike Alvarado, former WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios, IBO lightweight champion Lenny Zappavigna and Ik Yang.
“When we signed (Ramirez),” Arum said, “we felt he has the capability to be a superstar.
“It’s up to him. We feel that he can reach the top. He has a hell of a shot being a major player in boxing and big pay-per-view star.”
Said Mirigian: “There will be challenges when making fights like this. No matter what, I’m committed to making it happen for Ramirez.”
Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler agrees.
“In the next year, he’ll be ready to challenge for a world title,” he said. “That’s what he’s fighting for, and that’s what he wants to do.”
Other bouts – Joe Louie Lopez of Fresno suffered his first loss when Ernesto Martinez (12-10-1, 6 KOs) of San Diego landed a left hook to the chin, scoring a knockout in 19 seconds in a scheduled six-round super middleweight bout.
Lopez (8-1) got up but wobbled as Reiss waved off the fight.
▪ Super featherweight: Andy Vences (16-0) won by unanimous decision over Moises Delgadillo (17-15-2). Judges scored the bout 79-73, 77-75 and 78-74.
▪ Lightweight: Eric Altamirano of Fresno scored a sixth-round knockout against Daniel Tran (4-5-1). The knockout came at 52 seconds as Altamirano improved to 8-0 with six knockouts.
▪ Featherweight: Efren Lopez of Fresno won his pro debut by KO at 2:23 of the opening round over Barry Dudley.
▪ Super lightweight: Hector Madera of Stockton defeated Kevin Davila of Honolulu by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight 40-36. Madera is 1-0, while Davila fell to 1-3-2.
▪ Middleweight: Quilisto Madera (3-0) of Stockton won by unanimous decision over Rafael Valencia (3-3) of Medford, Ore.
Next fights – Boxing returns to Tachi on Sept. 10. Daniel Valdivia of Tulare will be on the card, along with Saul Lomas of Fresno.
Saturday at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore
- Lightweight: Jose Ramirez (18-0, 13 KOs) d. Tomas Mendez (22-8), by knockout in the fourth round, 0:53.
- Super-featherweight: Andy Vences (16-0, 11 KOs) d. Moises Delgadillo (17-15-2, 8 KOs), by unanimous decision.
- Middleweight: Ernesto Martinez (12-10-1, 6 KOs) d. Joe Louie Lopez (8-1) by knockout, 19 seconds into the first round.
- Lightweight: Eric Altamirano (8-0, 6 KOs) d. Daniel Tran (4-5-1), sixth-round knockout, 0:52.
- Middleweight: Quilisto Madera (3-0) d. Rafael Valencia (3-3, 2 KOs), by unanimous decision.
- Super-lightweight: Hector Madera (1-0) d. Kevin Davila (1-3-2), by unanimous decision.
- Featherweight: Efren Lopez (1-0) d. Barry Dudley (0-3), by knockout in the first round, 2:23.