By Ben Jacobs recently spoke to World Boxing Organization [WBO] champion, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramírez about his upcoming defence against Roamer Alexis Angulo on June 30.  The Sinaloa fighter is now in Los Angeles, California alongside his trainer Héctor Zapari Jr preparing for the encounter against the power punching Colombian.  Speaking over the phone before an afternoon training session, Zapari maintained that Angulo will provide a stern test in Oklahoma.

“All these fighters are tough, we don’t want something to happen to us like it did with Jesse Magdaleno, for example,” Héctor said. 

“He fought a guy from Ghana (Isaac Dogboe) that people didn’t know about and he surprised everyone.  People in boxing knew he was good and we also know that this guy (Angulo) is strong, tough and punches hard - he’s dangerous.  But we have faith in ‘Zurdo’, he’s an intelligent fighter.  If we want the big fights and unification fights we have to roll through Angulo.”

Those unification fights could come against the likes of International Boxing Federation [IBF] champion, James DeGale who recently reclaimed his belt with a rematch victory over Caleb Truax.  Many observers feel however, that the Englishman’s best days are behind him after two subpar performances in a row.

“I don’t know much about James DeGale but what I’ve seen from afar is that he’s a guy that doesn’t take care of himself between fights, he likes to party is what the rumours say.  If you do that you can lose concentration and that can affect you as a fighter.  ‘Zurdo’ really takes care of himself.   This is a short career and even though he’s still young, the idea is to retire with a legacy and lots of money in the bank, and then you can party in a major way.

“We have to win this if we want to fight the winner of the super middleweight tournament.   You can’t underestimate anyone, look what happened with DeGale against Truax.”

Ramírez, who has sparred the likes of World Boxing Council [WBC] champion David Benavídez and World Boxing Association [WBA] light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, is based at the Hill Street Boxing gym in The City of Angels where his skills are being fine tuned with just over a month to go until fight night.

“The plans we have is to be patient with ‘Zurdo’, we take all these fights seriously.  We want to unify the belts and we want to fight Benavídez, the winner of the tournament (World Boxing Super Series) and James DeGale.  (José) Uzcátegui is there as well but he is only the interim champion. So, Benavídez could be the most interesting fight.  I think Gilberto will be at super middleweight for a couple of more years still and then he will move up.  He has the body to fight at light heavyweight.”

Ramírez recently expressed his belief to BoxingScene that Callum Smith will be the overall victor in the World Boxing Super Series, something that his trainer agrees with.

“I also think Calum Smith is the favourite for the tournament,” he insisted. 

“He’s tall, he can punch, he’s young and he prepares well for fights, so he has what it takes to beat Groves.  We’ll see what happens, but I also think Callum Smith is better than Badou Jack.   Jack should have won that fight against Stevenson who is old now, he’s 40.  With all respect he should have gone in there and ended him.”