Sports

Jose Ramirez is a two-time world boxing champion. Here’s what makes him cry

Jose Ramirez is never one to shed a tear, especially after winning two world boxing titles.

But he showed plenty of emotion Tuesday when a life-size statue of the WBC and WBO super lightweight world champion was unveiled at the Fresno County Historical Museum at the Fresno Fairgrounds.

The sculpture stands 5-foot-10 and bears the name of his son, Matteo, on the trunks – just like Ramirez wears in the ring.

“That part, for me, was the best part, because he’s going to be able to see one day what kind of impact his dad made,” Ramirez said.

The statue was designed by local artist Debbie Stevenson, who started the work in November and completed it last month.

“I normally paint race horses,” said Stevenson, whose work includes a head painting of California Chrome, the two-time American Horse of the Year from Harris Farms in Coalinga. “I wanted to see if I had it in me to do a full-sized sculpture, which I’ve never done before. This was very different and challenging. I was a fan of Jose and I wanted to do it.”

Ramirez is the second Fresno-area boxer to get a life-sized statue.

Young Corbett III’s statute sits on the side of Selland Arena. Ramirez’s statue will be on display at the Fair museum along with his WBC belt; it was formally donated Tuesday by Chris Gamber who won it in a charity auction.

“It is an unbelievable feeling,” Ramirez said. “I never thought I was going to one day be in a position where a statue of me is unveiled to represent my legacy.’

The 27-year-old Avenal native won his first world title in New York over Amir Imam for the WBC super lightweight world title in 2018.

In July, he claimed the WBO title with a sixth-round technical knockout in Arlington, Texas, over Maurice Hooker to improve to 25-0 with 17 knockouts..

Ramirez’s next fight will not likely happen until January or February as he underwent surgery on his left hand recently. He said his hand feels good.

For now, he’s going to enjoy his latest honor.

“The older you get, you start realizing what you need to do to inspire people,” Ramirez said. “That’s my main goal: to inspire the people. To inspire kids to chase their dream because if you do, things like this happen. It’s amazing the appreciation people have for me.”

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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.
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