The team at Golden Boy Promotions was convinced they were in the presence of a future multi-division champ from the moment they added Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez to their roster.
That vision is officially one fight away.
Plans are set for Mexico’s Ramirez to next challenge WBA light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol. Golden Boy and Matchroom Boxing came to terms early Sunday morning, avoiding a scheduled purse bid for later that afternoon to determine promotional rights. The fight will take place November 5 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, though the challenger and his team are confident of bringing the belt back to North America.
“Zurdo will prove he is the best light heavyweight when he fights Bivol on November 5,” De La Hoya said in a quote provided to BoxingScene.com.
Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) will attempt the ninth defense of the WBA light heavyweight crown he has held since November 2017 after upgrading from his previous interim title reign. None were bigger than his last achievement, when the 31-year-old from Saint Petersburg, Russia by way of Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan thoroughly outclassed then pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs) in their May 7 DAZN Pay-Per-View headliner in Las Vegas.
Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs) cemented his place as Bivol’s mandatory challenger one week later after knocking out Germany’s Dominic Boesel in the fourth round of their May 14 final eliminator. The 31-year-old southpaw from Mazatlan has stopped all five opponents since moving up to light heavyweight in 2019 following a nearly three-year WBO super middleweight title reign.
From the moment he arrived at 175, Ramirez has set his sights on Bivol, whom he has long viewed as the fighter he needs to face to cement his claim as the best light heavyweight in the world. He has remained locked in on that target, even as Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18KOs) has emerged as the lineal/WBC/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion.
“When Zurdo first came to Golden Boy Promotions, we sat down with him to discuss his future,” Golden Boy VP and executive matchmaker Roberto Diaz told BoxingScene.com. “From the moment we first started working with him, he sat down and said, ‘I want Bivol.’ I tried to tell him, ‘We don’t have to do that, we can go other routes.’ Zurdo told me, ‘Roberto, trust me. I can beat him.’
“This is an opportunity to bring back that title—not just for Zurdo, but for all of Mexico.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox