Robeisy Ramirez will make the second defense of his WBO featherweight title against a hard-hitting contender who will take a huge step up in competition.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Ramirez has been scheduled to meet Mexican challenger Rafael Espinoza in a 12-round, 126-pound title fight November 4. Their promoters, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. (Ramirez) and Zanfer Boxing (Espinoza), have reached an agreement, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission must approve the bout before it is announced.
Assuming the NSAC signs off on Espinoza as Ramirez’s opponent, ESPN+ will stream their fight as the main event of a Top Rank card from Tahoe Blue Event Center in Stateline, Nevada.
Guadalajara’s Espinoza, 29, was not listed in the WBO’s featherweight ratings released last month, but he is expected to be among that sanctioning organization’s top 15 contenders when its updated rankings come out this month.
Espinoza (21-0, 18 KOs) will face by far the best opponent of his career when he meets Ramirez (13-1, 8 KOs). The 6-foot-1 Espinoza, who is unusually tall for the 126-pound division, has knocked out 86 percent of his professional opponents, but he will fight outside of Mexico for just the second time since his debut in February 2013.
Espinoza, who most recently knocked out Tanzania’s Ally Mwerangi (12-7, 8 KOs) in the second round July 15 at Restaurante Arroyo in Mexico City, has won five consecutive fights inside the distance. The left-handed Ramirez has lost only a four-round split decision to Adan Gonzales (then 4-2-2) in his pro debut four years ago, but he avenged that stunning loss by defeating Denver’s Gonzalez unanimously in their six-round rematch in July 2020 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Ramirez, who is also 29, will make the second defense of a WBO belt he won when he unanimously outpointed Ghana’s Isaac Dogboe (24-3, 15 KOs) on April 1 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two-time Olympic gold medalist won the then-vacant WBO featherweight title that Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) gave up when he decided to move up to the 130-pound division.
Ramirez made his first defense of the WBO featherweight crown against Japan’s Satoshi Shimizu (11-2, 10 KOs). He stopped Shimizu in the fifth round July 25 on the Naoya Inoue-Stephen Fulton undercard July 25 at Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.