Jose Ramirez was faced with the toughest test of his career. Jose “Chon” Zepeda was slick, slippery, and would not give in. But it was a late rally in the championship rounds that pushed Ramirez (24-0, 16 KOs) to a majority decision victory as he retained his WBC super lightweight title for the second time in front of 14,034 screaming fans at the Save Mart Center.
The scores were 114-114, 115-113, and 116-112, as Ramirez won the 12th round on all three judges’ scorecards to clinch the victory.
“He was a very a tough and smart southpaw. He came well prepared," Ramirez said. "He kept a good range and distance. That made it a tough, close fight, but I think I pulled it off in the championship rounds. I landed the most effective punches.”
Said Zepeda: "Jose Ramirez is a great fighter, and his fans really pushed him and gave him momentum."
As for what's next, Ramirez mentioned unification bouts or perhaps a move up to welterweight. When it was all said and done, the Central Valley folk hero sent his fans home happy.
IN OTHER RESULTS:
Gabriel Flores Jr. (12-0, 5 KOs) notched a six-round unanimous decision over Alex Rynn Torres (6-3, 3 KOs) in a spirited lightweight bout. The scores were as followed: 60-54 (2x) and 59-55.
Carlos Castro (22-0, 9 KOs) won the vacant WBC Continental Americas super bantamweight title with a dominant 10-round unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 98-92) over former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15 KOs). Castro used his superior boxing skills to befuddle Servania, who was unable to cut off the ring.
Andy “El “Tiburon” Venes (22-0-1, 12 KOs) maintained his status as one of the sport’s top 130-pound contenders, rolling through savvy veteran Dardan Zenunaj (14-6, 11 KOs) via eight-round unanimous decision by identical scores of 80-72.
Heavyweight prospect Guido "The Gladiator" Vianello" improved to 2-0 with a first-round stoppage over Andrew Satterfield, scoring a knockdown early in the round and finishing it off with a vicious follow-up combination. Vianello represented his native Italy at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In a major upset at 140 pounds, Cristian Coria (29-7-2, 13 KOs) scored a crushing third-round knockout over Joel Diaz Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs). A left hook put Diaz down for good at 1:50 of the round.
Fresno native and super bantamweight prospect Isidro Ochoa improved to 7-0 with a fifth-round TKO over Jesus Guzman after Guzman's corner elected to stop the fight.
Saul "Neno" Rodriguez defeated Aelio Mesquita by fifth-round knockout to move to 23-0-1.