CORK, Ireland – No sooner had new World Boxing Association (“WBA”) Super Bantamweight Champion Rico “Suavecito” Ramos had his arm raised victoriously after his seventh-round knockout of defending champion Akishumni Shimoda last Saturday night in Atlantic City, WBA Interim titlist Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux issued an instant challenge to the 24-year-old Ramos for a supreme 122-pound showdown.
The Shimoda-Ramos fight was on the verge of being called off when Rigondeaux’ Irish manager, Gary Hyde, through renown boxing lawyer Patrick English, lodged an objection to the WBA. The action resulted in the promoters for both Shimoda and Ramos being instructed to make a deal with Team Rigondeaux or their fight wouldn’t be sanctioned.
As WBA world Interim champion, Rigo should have been the next challenger for Shimoda's title, but the Japanese champion by-passed Rigondeaux in favor of an easier title defense against Ramos.
Top Rank-promoted Rigo will now fight Ramos (20-0, 7 KOs) and the Cuban sensation has vowed to take the title belt from Ramos. “I stepped aside and let the fight go ahead,” Rigondeaux explained, “even though they ignored the fact that I was next in line. Ramos will soon regret that he won the title when we get it on.
“Ramos is a tough, aggressive fighter but those types of fighters suit me. I promise he will not have enough time to enjoy this victory because I will be taking that belt from him when we meet in the ring. My goal is to be the undisputed 122-pound world champion and I want to achieve this goal by the end 2012.”
Rigondeaux, arguably the greatest amateur boxer of all-time, defected from Cuba and made his pro debut May 22, 2009, won the NABA super bantamweight title in his third action as a pro and last November in only his seventh fight, he won a 12-round decision against Ricardo Cordoba (37-2-2) to become the WBA Interim 122-pound divisional champion. His last fight was an opening-round destruction of former European champion Willie Casey (11-1) last March in Dublin.
A crafty southpaw and deadly body puncher, Rigondeaux (8-0, 6 KOs) now fights out of Miami, and trains in Houston with Ronnie Shields. Rigo is a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, as well as a 7-time national champion who captured a pair of World Championship titles during his amazing 243-4 amateur career.
Hyde also manages promising prospects such as British welterweight Mark Heffron (5-0, 4 KOs) and Georgian junior welterweight Levan Ghvarmichava (4-0, 3 KOs), as well as the newly-signed former European Super bantamweight champion Willie “Big Bang” Casey (11-1, 7 KOs), of Ireland.