The mission has never been clearer for Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez.
A shot at the WBA light heavyweight title is well within reach for Mexico’s Ramirez, who faces Germany’s Dominic Boesel (32-2, 15KOs) in a final eliminator this Saturday. The winner will become the mandatory challenger to Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11KOs), who defended the title with a decision win over boxing’s biggest star in Guadalajara’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs) this past Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Ramirez (43-0, 29KOs) admittedly had mixed emotions over the outcome—disappointed to see his countryman fall short but eager to avenge the defeat for all of Mexico.
“As a fan, it’s sad for me because I was rooting for Canelo to win,” Ramirez confessed to BoxingScene.com. “But as a fighter, it’s good for me. When I beat Bivol, I will have the belt and all of the attention.
“I will be able to avenge this loss for all of Mexico. I think the fight can happen in September in Vegas.”
Ramirez first has to get past Boesel, the current number-one contender with the WBA who makes his U.S. debut. The bout headlines a DAZN show from Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, marking Ramirez’s third fight in just more than ten months since signing with Golden Boy Promotions last spring and in markets where he has been able to flush out his Mexican fan base. Ramirez stopped former title challenger Sullivan Barrera in the fourth rounds last July 9 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, followed by a tenth-round stoppage of Yunieski Gonzalez last December 18 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The win over Gonzalez served as a semi-final eliminator for Ramirez, who advanced to the number-two position in the WBA light heavyweight rankings. The 30-year-old southpaw was already calling for a fight with Bivol, with the call falling on deaf ears though a win on Saturday could force the Kyrgyzstan-born, Russia-based titlist to pay closer attention.
“This is a final eliminator for the WBA light heavyweight belt that I have been chasing for almost a year,” noted Ramirez, who has scored four straight knockouts since moving up to light heavyweight following a three-year WBO super middleweight title reign. “The time has now come. A win on Saturday will put me closer to what I’ve wanted since moving (up to light heavyweight), to become champion and be a role model for the people.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox