Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor officially have a date for their 140-pound title unification fight.
Promoter Top Rank announced Tuesday that the undefeated junior welterweight champions will square off May 22 at a site to be determined. Ramirez, 28, and Taylor, 30, are expected to fight somewhere in Las Vegas, but a deal to secure the venue has not been finalized.
Wherever these 2012 Olympians fight, the winner will emerge from that scheduled 12-round bout as the sport’s undisputed junior welterweight champion. Their fight for Ramirez’s WBC and WBO titles and Taylor’s IBF and WBA belts will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and also will be streamed live on ESPN+, the network’s $6-per-month streaming service.
“This is the best boxing has to offer, two elite fighters in the prime of their careers colliding in a legacy-defining matchup for the undisputed championship of the world,” Top Rank founder Bob Arum said in a press release. “It’s a true 50-50 fight, one that the fans and both fighters demanded.”
Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs), of Avenal, California, was tested in his last bout by mandatory challenger Viktor Postol (31-3, 12 KOs).
While he wasn’t especially sharp, Ramirez managed to defeat Ukraine’s Postol by majority decision. Judge Dave Moretti scored their 12-rounder even (114-114), but Tim Cheatham (115-113) and Steve Weisfeld (116-112) scored it for Ramirez.
“I look forward to making history by becoming the first boxer of Mexican descent to hold all four major world title belts,” Ramirez said. “I dedicate this fight to the Central Valley farm workers, who are out there every day helping feed the world. This fight is big, but nothing is bigger than getting vaccinations to the farm workers right now in the Central Valley [of California].”
Scotland’s Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) beat Postol more convincingly than Ramirez in their 12-round bout in June 2018 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow. In his most recent appearance, the Scottish southpaw stopped Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong (16-1, 13 KOs), an overmatched mandatory challenger, in the first round September 26 at York Hall in London.
“I’m excited it’s finalized and over the line,” Taylor said. “I can’t wait to get in there for the biggest fight of my career. Fighting for the undisputed title is something all boxers dream about.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.