Jose Ramirez is more than willing to fight another unbeaten junior welterweight champion in his opponent’s backyard.
Ramirez knocked out Maurice Hooker near Hooker’s hometown of Dallas in his last fight. If Ramirez defeats mandatory challenger Viktor Postol in his next bout, the WBC/WBO 140-pound champion would be open to traveling to the United Kingdom for a title unification fight against Scotland’s Josh Taylor.
“You can see with all the great UK fighters, guys like Tyson Fury, the fans from the UK really come out and show a lot of support,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com. “I love the atmosphere and the energy. I can see the Taylor fight happening somewhere in London. You know, at the O2 Arena. That’s a very popular arena over there. I would love to fight there against someone who’s from there. Even though Taylor is from Scotland, I think the UK fans would definitely show up and support just boxing overall. I would expect a great atmosphere.”
The 27-year-old Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) is a proven draw in Fresno, California, near his hometown of Avenal. He has helped attract crowds in excess of 10,000 for each of his five appearances at Fresno State University’s Save Mart Center.
Ramirez has shown, however, that if the money is right, he’ll head into enemy territory. He stopped Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) in the sixth round of their July 27 fight at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
“I’m a very competitive guy, but I likely friendly competition,” Ramirez said. “I don’t take anything to heart. When I was in Texas, during fight week for Hooker some of his family members and fans came to the media workout. They were making things more dramatic, but to me, it’s like, ‘Hey, whatever, man.’ I like to see emotions. When I see emotions, I think they fear a little bit. And I’m not an emotional guy. I like to go in there and take care of my business.”
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs), the IBF/WBA champion, lives in Prestonpans, Scotland, approximately a six-hour drive from London. His last fight – a 12-round, majority-decision victory over previously unbeaten Regis Prograis – was held October 26 at O2 Arena.
Ramirez believes Taylor did enough to beat Prograis in that bout. Regardless, Ramirez wouldn’t be overly concerned about scoring if he were to fight Taylor in the United Kingdom.
“It doesn’t matter where the fight takes place,” Ramirez said. “I just wanna make sure that fight happens. I’m willing to go to the UK to fight him. I’m sure it would be a great opportunity for him to fight me in the States, too. But I think it’s a great fight. It’s an undisputed fight. It’s a fight where a lot of people will tune in to see what the super lightweights have to offer.”
Like Ramirez, Taylor must win a mandated match next to keep their intriguing fight in play. Taylor was supposed to make an obligatory defense of his IBF title against Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) on May 2 at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, but that fight was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus crisis has caused two postponements of Ramirez’s mandatory defense of his WBC belt against Ukraine’s Postol (31-2, 12 KOs). Ramirez-Postol likely will take place sometime this summer.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.