Jose Ramirez successfully retained his world boxing championship Friday night in dominating fashion.
Ramirez knocked down challenger Antonio Orozco in the fourth and eighth rounds and was active throughout in a 12-round unanimous decision victory.
It was a popular one, of course, with a crowd of 11,102 fans at the Save Mart Center who came to cheer on Avenal native Ramirez in his first title defense since winning the WBC junior welterweight title in March in New York City. A chant of “Jose, Jose” broke out in the first round and again in the 12th. Ramirez reciprocated, leaping on a turnbuckle after the final bell rang.
The fight was televised live nationally by ESPN.
All three judges scored it 119-107 for Ramirez (23-0, 16 knockouts).
“Fighting my first title defense with a tough 27-0 fighter like Antonio Orozco, it’s quite an honor for me,” Ramirez said. “I feel very proud of myself for taking the challenge with my first title defense against a tough guy instead of getting an easy victory lap like many fighters do. I’m honored and very blessed.”
Orozco (27-1, 17 KOs) was game throughout, but fought about half the bout with cuts over both eyes.
The fight was notable for its nonstop action. According to CompuBox, Ramirez landed 381 of 1,036 punches thrown, while Orozco was 263 of 782. Ramirez’s jabs landed 122 times to Orozco’s 78. And Ramirez landed 259 power punches to Orozco’s 185.
“He’s unbelievable,” Ramirez’s new trainer, Robert Garcia, said of his prize pupil. “He listens and follows instructions and the results were there today. There were little occasions where he exchanged punches and got hit with punches that were not necessary but it’s our first time together. Little by little, he’s going to get better.”
Ramirez used a right hand over the top to knock Orozco down in the fourth round, and body shots to set up the eighth-round knockdown.
Ramirez’s longtime promoter, Rick Mirigian, was thrilled with the first title defense in Fresno. “I’ve always believed in Jose from day one and others didn’t,” he said. “I knew that’s what he can do and tonight it happened.”
Now Ramirez has bigger goals.
“I dream to become a world champion, I became a world champion. I dream to become an Olympian. I became an Olympian. And I dream to become the unified and undisputed super lightweight world champion and that’s what I’m trying for and that’s what I’m going to do,” Ramirez said.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I just want to maintain myself and stay composed, hungry and fighting for the right reasons.”
Watching from near ringside was Regis Prograis who called out Ramirez earlier this year. Prograis will fight in the World Boxing Super Series.
Ramirez was set to fight on July 7 but that fight was called off because Danny O’Connor suffered severe dehydration.
What was initially disappointment became a plus for Ramirez, who got more time with Garcia. Boxing legend Freddie Roach helped guide Ramirez to the title before Garcia came on board.
“This camp gave me more room to know Robert Garcia and more time for him to get to know me as a fighter,” Ramirez said before the fight. “I sparred all different types of styles, which helped get me ready for a tough guy in Orozco. I pushed myself more. I feel like I got my confidence at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy. I feel like I’m at home now.”
Top Rank Boxing
WBC junior welterweight world title (12 rounds): Jose Ramirez (23-0) d. Antonio Orozco (27-1) by unanimous decision (119-107 3x).
Super featherweight (10 rounds) - USBA 130 title: Jamel Herring (18-2) d. John Moralde (20-2) by unanimous decision (100-90 3x).
Lightweight (6 rounds): Gabriel Flores Jr. (10-0) wins by UD over Roger Gutierrez (7-2-1). Judges: 59-54 2x; 58-54)
Super lightweight (10 rounds): Hiroki Okada (19-0) wins by split decision over Cristian Coria (27-7-2). Judges: Okada, 95-94 2x; Coria 95-94
Lightweight (10 rounds): Bryan Vasquez (38-3) defeats Carlos Cardenas (21-15-1) by unanimous decision (96-94 2x, 98-92)
Welterweight (10 rounds) - USBA 147 title: Alexander Besputin (11-0, 9 KOs) wins by TKO over Alan Sanchez (20-4-1) in the ninth round, 1:44
Super bantamweight (4 rounds): Santos Ortega (3-0) defeats Sebastian Baltazar (1-2) by unanimous decision (40-36, 3x)
Featherweight (6 rounds): Isidro Ochoa (6-0, 2 KOs) wins by KO over Elio De Jesus (2-3) in the third round, 2:14.