Gilberto Ramirez is closing in on his debut under new promotion.

The unbeaten former super middleweight titlist is due to return this June, with hopes of facing at least a mid-level light heavyweight contender for the occasion. The fight will mark his first since signing with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year, though plans for his next fight remain in a holding pattern.

Sources with knowledge of current negotiations have informed that Sullivan Barrera and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy are the leading candidates to land the assignment.

Ramirez (41-, 27KOs) previously served as a WBO super middleweight titlist before moving up to the light heavyweight division, where he debuted in a 4th round knockout of Tommy Karpency in April 2019. The fight served as a time marker in pursuit of a light heavyweight belt, though a rift with estranged promoter Top Rank instead saw the Mexican southpaw placed on the shelf for more than 20 months.

An invitation to enter a four-man tournament which would have led to a shot at the vacant WBO light heavyweight title was declined by Ramirez as a result. Ramirez and Top Rank severed ties soon thereafter, with the 29-year-old promoting his own show last December, scoring a 10th round knockout of Alfonso Lopez.

Interestingly, there still exists a path for Ramirez to contend for that same title. He is currently ranked number-five by the WBO, whose vacant light heavyweight belt is at stake for this Saturday’s ESPN headliner between Joe Smith Jr. (26-3, 21KOs) and Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26KOs). Any combination of a loss by either fighter and a win by Ramirez in June will undoubtedly bolster his current ranking and potentially lead to facing this weekend’s winner later in the year.

Ramirez is also ranked number-three by the WBA.  

Representatives from Golden Boy Promotions did not respond to an inquiry seeking comment, as details—including a firm date and location—all remain in play.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox