Former world champion, and light heavyweight contender Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez (42-0, 28 KOs) of Mazatlán, Mexico, will welcome the holiday season by taking on Cuba's Yunieski "The Monster" Gonzalez (21-3, 17 KOs) for the WBA Light Heavyweight Title eliminator on Saturday, December 18 from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX.
The winner of the title eliminator will secure a mandatory challenge to the WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship, which is currently held by Dmitry Bivol.
The 12-round main event will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN worldwide.
In the co-main event, three-time world champion Seniesa "Super Bad" Estrada (21-0, 8 KOs) will defend her new WBA Minimumweight World title in a 10-round fight against the fierce, undefeated Maria "La Imparable" Santizo (9-0, 5 KOs) of Guatemala City, Gua.
Next, rising super featherweight contender Lamont Roach, Jr. (21-1-1, 9 KOs) will face off against former world champion Rene "Gemelo" Alvarado (32-10, 21 KOs) in a 10-round fight for the vacant NABA Super Featherweight championship.
Opening up the broadcast, former U.S. Olympian and current WBC Flyweight World Champion Marlen Esparza (10-1, 1 KOs) will defend her world title, for the first time, against the seasoned former WBA world champion, Anabel "Avispa" Ortiz (31-4, 4 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico.
"The light heavyweight division is stacked with great talent, but none of them are taking risks, none of them want to step up to a real challenge," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. "Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez has proven to be among the elite of the division and is ready for a world title fight. Facing Yunieski Gonzalez, a fighter who has never backed down from a challenge, will allow both fighters to secure a shot at the WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship. I am excited to return to San Antonio, Texas, for this event. Fight fans have always welcomed us there and will get a night full of action and world championship level boxing."
Ramirez is willing to put his undefeated record on the line to prove he is the best in the light heavyweight division, and the WBA Light Heavyweight title eliminator will allow him to get closer to his goal. After a spectacular knockout victory over Cuba's Sullivan Barrera in July 2021, he is determined to retain his undefeated status, reach the highly coveted 50-0 milestone, and continue his knockout streak, which he has held since 2019. A former WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, who defended his title successfully five times, 'Zurdo' is ready for the world stage one more time in 2021, closing off the year with a bang.
"I'm happy and excited to be back in the ring before the year ends and showcase my talent again in Texas. Of course, I was a little disappointed that Bivol didn't want to sign the contract and make the fight happen, but that's boxing. I know my team and Golden Boy have been working strategically to make this happen, and I will not disappoint all my fans on December 18," said Gilberto Ramirez.
"Yuneski is a tough Cuban fighter, and I know I will need to be my best that night. With this being the WBA World Title eliminator, I know he will do everything to change his life with this fight. Once this fight is over, Bivol will have nowhere to run and will have to face me," continued Ramirez.
"Last but not least, I sincerely appreciate Mr. Gilberto Mendoza and the entire WBA organization for allowing me to be in this position. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the WBA and will do everything in my power to highly represent the organization and become the Champion."
Fighting out of Miami, Florida, but originally from Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Gonzalez has had a successful career in the light heavyweight division. He has stayed busy in 2020 and 2021, facing and defeating Guillermo Romero, Alex Theran, and Tommy Karpency by consecutive knockout victories. The heavy-handed fighter has been seeking an elusive world title fight and will get closer to his goal if he can defeat Ramirez.
"First and foremost, I want to thank God, Golden Boy, my representative Henry Rivaita, DAZN, the WBA, and my coach Peter Roque," said Gonzalez. "I am coming to give my all December 18. It will be an interesting fight since I am the only Cuban boxer who's not a 'runner,' so fight fans will enjoy every minute of all the action. I have worked hard for the last year and a half, and it has paid off. I fight for freedom for thousands of kids who don't have this opportunity. I'm coming to give Texas a night to remember."