The light heavyweight division hangs in the balance until Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol battle for the undisputed championship on June 1.

Venezuela’s Albert Ramirez (18-0, 15 KOs) is among the pack waiting in line for a shot at a world title at 175 pounds. The Eye of the Tiger charge is ranked in No. 2 for Bivol’s WBA belt and is also within the top eight for Beterbiev’s three titles. 

The 31-year-old Venezuelan turned professional in 2018 following an extensive amateur career that saw him compete at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He began life in the paid ranks in Mexico.

“You are asking me what happened in Mexico,” Ramirez laughed as he began to explain to BoxingScene. “We could make a movie about it, honestly. It was a difficult time for me to be honest with you. I was not happy with what was going on over there. It was not the correct environment.

“They weren’t very transparent and were misleading. The contract I signed was not what they said it was. It was in Mexican pesos. It was hard because I only discovered this when I first moved to Mexico with my family. But I got out of there and I’m in Colombia now. I spend half my training camp here and half in Paris.”

The turning point came with a trip to Russia in 2021. At the time, Ramirez was 9-0 with 9 KOs coming against little-known and limited opposition. The powerful southpaw was far from the light heavyweight radar hidden away on Mexican undercards. 

“Russia was very important for me,” Ramirez explained. “Marc [Ramsey] asked me to help prepare Artur Beterbiev and Adam Deines in Russia. Marc was happy with the work I provided and I ended up signing with Eye of the Tiger. 

“It was such a great opportunity to have this camp with Artur. I was ready everyday, I wanted to learn as much as I could from him, I think Marc was a bit surprised by that. I know a lot of sparring partners do their sparring and go and rest, but I am always active anyway and doing something in the gym even if I have no fight. So, I was in the gym every morning ready to learn even if I wasn’t required for sparring. It changed everything.”

Ramirez will face Germany’s Deines on May 25 in Shawinigan, Canada. The pair take the co-main event slot on the Christian Mbilli-Mark Heffron bill on ESPN+.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work to get me ranked everywhere, so I’m happy to have another fight in May,” Ramirez added. “I want to make it short. Of course, I will be boxing as usual but I will try to make it quick.

“I do always prepare myself for 10 or 12 rounds in any fight, but I love finding an opportunity to knock them out. I’ll always take it and make it shorter. I’m ready to make a real statement in boxing and I’m ready to become a world champion. I’m ready for any boxer. Anyone I have to fight, I will fight. I’ll take care of any of them.”