The ruling handed down was more crucial than ever to what Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez needs to accomplish.
A shot at the WBA light heavyweight title remains in play for the Mexican southpaw, who awaits the next steps for his mandatory shot at reigning champ Dmitry Bivol. The fight’s status was on hold as the WBA reviewed a request by Matchroom Boxing seeking permission for Bivol to instead next face Joshua Buatsi.
The permit was denied by the WBA per an official ruling on August 9, leaving Ramirez directly in line for the fight he’s desired ever since moving up to light heavyweight.
“I can’t wait. Now it’s my time,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com shortly after learning the WBA’s ruling. “It’s time for revenge, for my Mexican people.”
The revenge sought by Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs) dates back to May 7, when Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) posted by far the biggest win of his career. The unbeaten WBA light heavyweight titlist turned away the challenge of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, soundly outboxing the Mexican superstar and reigning undisputed super middleweight champion.
Bivol’s feat came one week prior to Ramirez cementing his status as the mandatory challenger following a fourth-round knockout of Dominic Boesel on May 14 in Ontario, California. The win was Ramirez’s second in a sanctioned eliminator, with the intention of next challenging for the title that he targeted from the moment he signed with Golden Boy Promotions last spring.
“When Zurdo first came to Golden Boy Promotions, we sat down with him to discuss his future,” Roberto Diaz, vice president and executive matchmaker for Golden Boy, told BoxingScene.com. “From the moment we first started working with him, he sat down and said, ‘I want Bivol.’ I tried to tell him, ‘We don’t have to do that, we can go other routes.’ Zurdo told me, ‘Roberto, trust me. I can beat him.’
“This was obviously way before Bivol’s victory over Canelo. After, Zurdo said, ‘Now, I want Bivol even more.’ He has a whole country behind him. All the fans in Mexico are calling for Zurdo to fight Bivol. This is an opportunity to bring back that title, that win—not just for Zurdo but for all of Mexico.”
Ramirez is ready to deliver for an entire country.
“People want to see the fight because he beat one of the best Mexicans,” noted Ramirez. “Everyone wants to see this fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox