Jose Ramirez is set for his first world title defense – again.
The Avenal native will face Antonio Orozco in a scheduled 12-rounder Friday night for Ramirez’s WBC super lightweight world title. It’s the main event of an ESPN card at the Save Mart Center.
That’s where Ramirez was supposed to first defend the title back in July, before opponent Danny O’Connor suffered sever dehydration that caused the fight to be canceled.
Instead, Ramirez (22-0, 160 KOs) waited two more months. He will get his wish of having his first title defense in the central San Joaquin Valley. He said the wait was worth it.
“Antonio is a very active fighter in the ring,” Ramirez said. “This is a much better fighter and opponent. He’s a pressure fighter like myself, and I’m more than excited to be facing fighters like him. I consider Antonio to be one of the very best in the division. He’s been a contender for a long time and he’s ready for me. I think it’s worth the wait for all the fans who missed out on July 7.”
To add intrigue to the fight, a couple of world title contenders will be in attendance. WBC Diamond champion Regis Prograis and Alex Saucedo will sit at ringside. WBO welterweight world champion Terence Crawford is expected, too.
Ramirez, who fights for Top Rank Boxing, captured the world title with a unanimous decision victory over Amir Iman at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on March 17.
“This is going to be a great fight,” Ramirez said. “We are both very hungry. He’s 27-0 and has been waiting for an opportunity like this – to fight for the WBC title. That pushes me even harder. This has been one of my longest camps, and the results will show in the ring.”
Orozco (27-0, 17 KOs) is a Golden Boy Promotions boxer. He also last fought in March and won by unanimous decision.
“I’m ready,” Orozco said. “That’s as clean as it can get. This is the opportunity that every fighter wants to get to, and mine came at the right moment. Things happen for a reason. I’m here in Fresno in front of a great champion. I’m ready.”
Top Rank Boxing
Super lightweight (12 rounds), WBC world title: Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) vs. Antonio Orozco (27-0, 17 KOs)
Lightweight (6 rounds): Gabriel Flores Jr. (9-0, 5 KOs) vs. Roger Gutierrez (7-1-1, 4 KOs)
Super featherweight (10 rounds), USBA 130 title: Jamel Herring (17-2, 10 KOs) vs. John Moralde (20-1, 10 KOs)
Lightweight (10/8 rounds): Bryan Vasquez (37-3, 20 KOs) vs. Carlos Cardenas (21-14-1, 13 KOs)
Welterweight (10 rounds), USBA 147 title: Alexander Besputin (10-0, 8 KOs) vs. Alan Sanchez (20-3-1, 10 KOs)
Super lightweight (10 rounds): Hiroki Okada (17-0, 12 KOs) vs. Cristian Coria (27-8-2, 11 KOs)
Featherweight (4 rounds): Isidro Ochoa (5-0, 1 KO) vs. Elio De Jesus (2-2)
Super bantamweight: Santos Ortega (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Sebastian Baltazar (1-1)
TV: ESPN at 7 p.m.
Undercard: starts at 3:30 p.m.