By Jake Donovan
Nearly a year after defecting from the most storied amateur boxing in the world, Robeisy Ramirez is ready to join forces with one of the biggest companies in the pro ranks.
The two-time Olympic Gold medalist from Cuba is in advanced talks and preparing to sign with promotional powerhouse Top Rank. Representatives from the Las Vegas-based company have declined comment—or even confirmation—but the pro debut for the supremely gifted southpaw can come as early as this summer.
Ramirez captured a Gold medal as a flyweight in the 2012 London Olympics and as a bantamweight during the 2016 Rio Olympics. The former amateur standout ran through a slew of high-profile boxers who’ve since emerged as rising contenders in the pro ranks, including a pair of Olympic Silver medalists and current unbeaten featherweight contenders in Tugstsogt Nyambayan and Shakur Stevenson to win each of his two Gold medals.
Other notable names among his amateur hit list include: Uzbekistan’s Murojdon Akhmadaliev, a current unbeaten 122-pound contender; unbeaten 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Michael Conlan and flyweight contender Andrew Selby. His last loss in the amateurs came in the 2016 AIBA Americas Olympic Qualifiers, dropping a decision loss to Alberto Melian, currently a rising 122-pound prospect.
Stevenson, Conlan and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Vladimir Nikitin all currently fight under the Top Rank banner.
Ramirez was being groomed for a third Gold medal run in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before defecting from Team Cuba last July in Mexico. The five-time Cuban national champion was the second from the squad that year to defect, coming four months after the departure of 2016 Olympic teammate Joahnys Argilagos, who won a Bronze medal and was the nation’s targeted flyweight representative for the 2020 Olympics.
Rather than joining countrymen Félix Savón and Teófilo Stevenson as well as Hungary’s Lázló Papp on the very short list of boxers who’ve won three Olympic Gold medals, Ramirez instead continues a different tradition. The 25-year old joins fellow Gold medalists Joel Casamayor, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Odlanier Solis to leave the storied Cuban boxing program in favor of a better way of life—and a pro career—in the U.S.
Casamayor, Gamboa and Rigondeaux all went on to capture major titles in the pro ranks, with Rigondeaux having served as the World (lineal) 122-pound champion since April 2013. Other notable Cuban defectors who’ve carved out notable boxing careers include former titlists Erislandy Lara and Rances Barthelemy, current heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz and current weltereight contender Yordenis Ugas.
Unlike those before him, Ramirez enjoys a leg up in transitioning from amateur to pro, having competed in the World Series of Boxing as part of the Cuba Domadores. His WSOB stint ended with a record of 14-3 to go along with a trophy case full of amateur accolades.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox