The team at Golden Boy Promotions could not have been more pleased with the ruling handed down by the WBA.
Any concern over Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez being cheated out of a light heavyweight title shot was put to rest this week. The WBA rejected a special permit submitted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing seeking an exemption for Dmitry Bivol to bypass his mandatory title fight obligation to instead face England’s Joshua Buatsi.
Matchroom promotes Buatsi and co-promotes Bivol along with World of Boxing. Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs) is proudly represented by Golden Boy Promotions, who anticipated the WBA would do the right thing as was the case in their August 9 ruling that became public knowledge on Wednesday.
"We find the ruling fair and honest considering Zurdo Ramirez has fought two elimination bouts and has been the number one contender for this fight since his victory against Sullivan Barrera in 2021,” Oscar De La Hoya, founder and chairman of Golden Boy Promotions said on Wednesday. "“We will continue to work hard to support Ramirez as he campaigns to one day become a two-division world champion."
Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) was ordered on July 11 to next face Mexico’s Ramirez, with the two sides given 30 days to work out terms and avoid a purse bid hearing. It was clear from the outset that Matchroom had other ideas in mind, including talks of staging a Bivol-Buatsi fight in Abu Dhabi later this fall.
Those plans were obviously on hold while the WBA reviewed the request, though there was little precedent to allow Bivol to avoid a fight with Ramirez. The 31-year-old boxer from Saint Petersburg, Russia by way of Kyrgyzstan has held his version of the light heavyweight title since November 2017, though with just one satisfied mandatory obligation among his eight title defenses—coming in a March 2018 12th round knockout of Barrera.
Bivol saw his stock skyrocket following a twelve-round win over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on May 7 in Las Vegas. Ramirez solidified his place as the WBA mandatory one week later in a fourth-round knockout of Dominic Boesel in their May 14 title eliminator in Ontario, California.
The two sides have reached the 30-day deadline, with a purse bid hearing presumably on the horizon. Golden Boy is prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver the fight to Ramirez, whether winning a purse bid or even further working with Matchroom to make sure everyone gets what they want.
"It doesn't matter where we fight," Roberto Diaz, Golden Boy Vice President and Executive Matchmaker, told BoxingScene.com. "We can fight Bivol in England, Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles... it could be the moon. All that matters is Zurdo getting the fight bringing that title home to Mazatlan."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox