By Steve Kim
Coming off his tough twelve round decision win over unbeaten mandatory challenger Jesse Hart on September 22nd, WBO super middleweight titlist, Gilberto Ramirez is already looking at two fights - with Top Rank setting down two dates in the first half of the year.
Ramirez will first see action back in the United States in the first quarter of the year, then fight in Mexico for the first time since 2013. Ten of Ramirez's last eleven bouts have taken place in the United States, with eleventh going down in China.
Bob Arum, the founder of Top Rank, advised BoxingScene.com - "He's fighting February 3rd in the United States and then on May 12th he will fight in Mazatlan(Mexico), we'll put a real good card on underneath."
Ramirez (36-0, 24 KO's) won his belt against Arthur Abraham in April of 2016 and has made two successful title defenses since then.
Following the win over Abraham, he was scheduled to fight in July of that year on HBO Pay-Per-View, but he was hampered for a bit with an injury to his right hand that kept him out of action for the remainder of the year after winning the title. He returned to the ring this past April, by winning a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision over durable Max Bursak before facing Hart.
As for how he'll conclude 2018, Ramirez may take the Manny Pacquiao route. Pacquiao traveled over to Australia in July to defend his WBO welterweight title against Jeff Horn in a stadium fight that drew 51,000 fans.
Arum said - "There's an up-and-coming super middleweight in Australia named (Rohan) Murdock (20-1, 15 KOs), a good looking kid and maybe by that time he'll be ready to fight Gilberto in Australia."
These bouts will be televised as part of Top Rank's deal with ESPN.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.