By Jake Donovan
Gilberto Ramirez’s foray into the light heavyweight division will pick up where he left off at super middleweight.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com’s Ryan Burton, the unbeaten 168-pound titlist will make his light heavyweight debut on April 12 in Los Angeles. An opponent has now been assigned for the occasion, as Ramirez will face journeyman Tommy Karpency in a supporting bout to Vasiliy Lomachenko’s lightweight title defense versus Anthony Crolla.
The show will air live on ESPN+, marking the one-year anniversary of the platform launch.
Ramirez (39-0, 25KOs) rose to prominence on his way to claiming a title at super middleweight, with the 6’2½” southpaw from Mazatlan, Mexico hitting paydirt in an April ’16 win over Arthur Abraham to claim his first major title.
Five defenses have followed, none of which ever managed to separate the unbeaten 27-year old from the rest of the pack. A pair of wins over Philadelphia’s Jesse Hart were by far the best of his reign, which may or may not still be active pending an official ruling from the World Boxing Organization (WBO), whom previously claimed his title vacant.
Meanwhile, he will test the light heavyweight waters while mapping out the rest of his 2019 campaign. Given the opponent selection, it’s clear the preference is to dip his toe in the shallow end of the pool.
Regardless of how the remainder of his career plays out, Karpency (29-6-1, 18KOs) will get to claim to have twice fought for a major title. The Rust Belt-based light heavyweight long ago earned his reputation as a divisional gatekeeper, but struck gold after scoring a major upset win over former World light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in Oct. ’14.
Karpency’s handlers wisely parlayed the opportunity into a shot at then-reigning 175-pound king Adonis Stevenson, with the June ’15 night ending in a one-sided knockout inside of three rounds. It was his second failed bid at a major title, having also suffered a points loss to then-unbeaten titlist Nathan Cleverly in Feb. ’12.
The 33-year old southpaw will enter his bout with Ramirez having won three straight versus confidence-building opposition since his last loss—a July ‘16 6th round stoppage at the hands of Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who now sits atop the light heavyweight division.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox