Jose Ramirez’s boxing title defense also part of the fight against cancer

WBC super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez, right, and Gabriel Flores Jr. hold the “KO Cancer” belt.
WBC super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez, right, and Gabriel Flores Jr. hold the “KO Cancer” belt. Top Rank

Sunday’s Top Rank boxing card at the Save Mart Center is called “KO Cancer” and has special meaning for ma

ny of the fighters.

Jose Ramirez spent time during the week leading up to his title defense visiting patients at Community Cancer Institute in Clovis, which will benefit from a portion of all ticket sales. Ramirez puts his WBC super lightweight world title belt on the line in the main event against Jose Zepeda.

“This is not just about boxing,” said Ramirez, who will take his 23-0 record with 16 knockouts against Zepeda (30-1, 25 KOs) on ESPN. “I am proud to dedicate my performance against Zepeda to the fight against cancer and to work with the great people at the Community Cancer Institute.

Ramirez and Gabriel Flores Jr. visited Community Cancer Institute patients and staff members on Thursday, and Ramirez will auction off his fight-worn purple gloves and fight attire to benefit the institute.

Ramirez said he lost both of his grandparents to cancer, and manager Rick Mirigian’s mother is battling cancer.

“So many families know someone who is affected by cancer,” Ramirez said. “When someone has cancer, it hits the whole family. Doing an event dedicated to people suffering from cancer will show them that they are supported and loved.”

Since 2011, boxer Andy Vences, left, and manager Herb Stone, right, were together until Stone died of cancer in 2017. Vences will fight on the ‘KO Cancer’ card at the Save Mart Center on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. Special to The Bee

Fighter lost manager

San Jose native Andy Vences, who’s on the undercard, saw his business manager and close friend, Herb Stone, die of stomach cancer in 2017. He was 75.

“I’m here because of this guy who found me in a local gym in San Francisco sparring. He decided to give me a chance. It was like a ‘Rocky’ movie,” said Vences (21-0-1, 12 KOs), who faces Dardan Zenunaj (14-5, 11 KOs).

Vences partnered with Stone in 2011 and made his pro debut with Stone by his side in 2012.

“Not only am I representing myself on Sunday, but I’m also representing this deadly disease that took his life away,” Vences said. “I hope everyone supports the event, not only for the fighters, but also the cause.”

KO Cancer

When: Sunday, undercard begins at 1 p.m., main events at 4 p.m.

Where: Save Mart Center


Anthony Galaviz: 559-441-6042, agalaviz_TheBee

Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.