By Ben Jacobs
Héctor Zapari and his father have trained recently crowned WBO super middleweight champion, Gilberto Ramírez (34-0, 24 KOs) since day one. Based in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, Ramírez won a unanimous decision over veteran Arthur Abraham on April 9 and coach Zapari expressed his delight in a BoxingScene.com interview.
“We are very happy for him, he’s always worked so hard,” beamed Zapari.
“There was a point in time where myself and my father had to lend him clothes, we’ve been with him since the start of his career. A lot of young guys have talent but they don’t work hard, but Gilberto has always done so and he still has a lot of hunger.
“I believe that Gilberto is an elite athlete, like a lot of boxers are, just like Arthur Abraham, but Gilberto showed at 24-years-old that he has a lot of experience already. It was a tough fight for him, it was very intense and he worked so hard in training to be able to beat Abraham.”
Ramírez’s work ethic is well noted, in fact, he has already returned to the gym for light work outs with Zapari unable to keep him away.
“He returned to the gym on Monday after a two week break. I wanted to give him longer but he likes to train so he came back.
“Gilberto didn’t get a lot of credit before this fight and that’s why people had doubts as to whether he could beat Abraham. Now people are talking about him fighting Golovkin. Golovkin is a great fighter, he goes forward, he can take a shot and he punches hard but he’s not a machine. He is an elite fighter as Gilberto is and it could be a great fight in the future.”
Talk of a first defence for ‘Zurdo’ could be on July 23 as part of the Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol card, although an opponent is yet to be determined. What is clear is that Team Ramírez would be very much interested in a unification bout down the line with possibly James DeGale or Badou Jack, should they come through their respective fights this weekend against Rogelio Medina and Lucian Bute.
“DeGale is a very good fighter, he’s difficult, quick and tough,” Héctor opined.
“I feel DeGale should beat Medina without any problems but I can’t take anything away from Medina as he hits hard. If he connects he could put DeGale on the canvas and he is looking stronger nowadays. You can’t take risks against him because he’s a puncher.
“Bute fought very well against DeGale and he landed some good shots, it won’t be easy for Jack, and Bute is a southpaw. I feel that Jack will win but he will have it tough.
“It would be great if there could be a unification fight against DeGale or Jack. DeGale would be a very attractive fight, that’s our dream, to unify and take their titles away.”