By Jake Donovan
Gilberto Ramirez puts not only his unbeaten record but also a mandatory title shot on the line as he faces Netherland's Gevorg Khatchikian this Friday evening at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Both fighters made weight for the televised main event, which airs live on truTV. Ramirez tipped the scales at a lean and ripped 167.5 lbs., while the Khatchikian checked in at 167 lbs.
A win will allow Mexico's Ramirez (32-0, 24KOs) to rest easy and focus on the outcome of Saturday's clash between defending super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham and hard-luck contender Martin Murray in Hannover, Germany.
The unbeaten contender previously played the truTV Metro PCS Friday Night Knockout circuit in his most recent ring appearance, pitching a 10-round shutout over veteran Derek Edwards in June.
Khatchikian (23-1, 11KOs) comes in having won three straight following an 11th round knockout loss to DeGale last March. That bout took place in England, with Friday's clash marking just the second trip outside of his native Netherlands.
Opening the live telecast, Ivan Najera and unbeaten Saul Rodriguez collide in a super featherweight attraction set for eight rounds.
The Texas-based Navera (16-1, 8KOs) returns to the ring for the first time ince suffering his lone career loss, a lopsided 10-round decision at the hands of unbeaten blue chip prospect-turned-contender Felix Verdejo in June. He took another loss at the scales on Thursday, clocking in at a beefy 134.6 lbs. - more than two pounds over the contracted 132 lb. limit.
Rodriguez weighed well within the limit at 131 lbs. The unbeaten prospect from California agreed to restructure the fight contract to allow the fight to go on as planned, with Najera subject to fine and penalty as seen fit by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Gilberto Ramirez, 167.5 lbs. vs. Gevorg Khatchikian, 167 lbs. - 10 rds, super middleweight
Konstantin Ponomarev, 150 lbs. vs. Ramses Agaton, 147.8 lbs. - 8 rds, welterweight
Saul Rodriguez, 131 lbs. vs. Ivan Najera, 134.6 lbs.* - 10 rds, lightweight
Casey Ramos, 132 lbs. vs. Adones Aguelo, 132 lbs. - 8 rds, super featherweight
Toka Kahn Clary, 126.5 lbs. vs. Sergio Lopez, 132.2 lbs. - 8 rds, super featherweight
Oleksandr Gvozdyk, 174.5 lbs. vs. Cleiton Conceicao, 176.5 lbs. - 8 rds, light heavyweight
*Najera was 2.6 lbs. over the contracted limit. The fight will go on as planned, with Najera subject to fine/penalty as imposed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox