There is a more on the line for Robeisy Ramirez beyond his featherweight title.
A big fight of sorts figures to be in the brilliant future of the double Olympic gold medalist and reigning WBO titlist. Even if Naoya Inoue decides to stick around in the junior featherweight division, the primary goal remains in place for Ramirez beyond his scheduled title defense versus Mexico’s Rafael Espinoza—the chance to add more hardware to his collection.
“This is one of the most competitive divisions in the sport,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com. “It has Luis Lopez, Rey Vargas and myself at the top. Then the other guys who are ranked but don’t yet have full titled. You have to stay ready because the titles can change hands at any time.
To his point, Ramirez (13-1, 8KOs) is among a massive changing of the guard in the 126-pound division. He claimed his title in a 12-round points win over Isaac Dogboe this past April 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He will attempt the second defense of his title versus the 6’1” Espinoza (21-0, 18KOs) this Saturday on ESPN from Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Mexicali’s Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16KOs) is coming up on his one-year anniversary as IBF featherweight titlist. Mexico’s Rey Vargas (36-1, 22KOs) has held the WBC title since last July but has yet to make a successful defense and his title consolidation bout versus interim beltholder Brandon Figueora remains stuck in a holding pattern.
England’s Leigh Wood lost, regained and vacated the WBA belt all in the past year. The now available belt will be contested between Otabek Kholmatov and Raymond Ford next February. Top Rank won the rights to the fight and also signed Kholmatov (11-0, 10KOs) to a promotional contract. A win by the unbeaten Uzbek will leave Top Rank with three of the four major titles at featherweight.
A chance to unify against any of the aforementioned is what further Ramirez to get out of bed in the morning.
“I came to this country to showcase my boxing skills. I’ve done that and it’s led me to this world title that I once again get to defend,” noted Ramirez, who has won 13 in a row since he lost his August 2019 pro debut. “I want to fight the best, we made that clear when I signed with Top Rank.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox