Jose Ramirez and Antonio Orozco to bring fireworks to Fresno on Friday


Undefeated Jose Ramirez, 22-0 (16), will finally make the first defense of his WBC junior welterweight world title belt on September 14, when he faces unbeaten Antonio Orozco, 27-0 (17), at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.


The 12-round bout will air live on ESPN and there should be an absolutely electric atmosphere, as Ramirez clocks into work in front of of his passionate, hometown faithful as a world champion.


Ramirez was scheduled to fight Framingham, Massachusetts’ Danny O’Connor on July 7, in Fresno, but the fight was canceled the day before. O’Connor passed out that morning from dehydration, as he was draining himself to dangerous levels in an attempt to make weight. He collapsed leaving the sauna and had to be rushed to the hospital. Obviously the fight had to be canceled and a frustrated Ramirez watched the card from ringside.


So Top Rank immediately looked for a new date and a new opponent. Enter San Diego, California-based banger Antonio Orozco.


Top Rank contacted Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Orozco, hammered out a deal with his manager Frank Espinoza and the fight was made.


The bout will see two unbeaten Mexican-Americans, both California residents, who will both enjoy getting into each other’s kitchen to mix things up.


Styles make fights and this one should be fun.


Ramirez, a 2012 Olympian, resides in nearby Avenal, California, and should have a raucous crowd behind him from the opening bell.


Not only will this be Ramirez’s first title defense, it will also be the first date for Ramirez with new trainer Robert Garcia. Ramirez had been trained by Los Angeles-based Freddie Roach previously but made the switch to Garcia prior to his last scheduled bout.


Undefeated junior welterweight contender Antonio Orozco (right) vs. Martin Honorio. Photo credit: Al Applerose

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Antonio Orozco (right) vs. Martin Honorio. Photo credit: Al Applerose


Orozco comes into the fight off a March win over former 130-pound title challenger Martin Honorio, while Ramirez comes into the fight off his impressive decision victory at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, over Amir Imam, also last March.


WBC junior welterweight titlist Jose Ramirez (right) vs. Amir Imam. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

WBC junior welterweight titlist Jose Ramirez (right) vs. Amir Imam. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank


While Ramirez doesn’t have any one particular part of his game that stands out, he is a very hard-working overachiever, who squeezes the very last drop of talent he has out of himself in every fight.


And in a division that sports a lot of talent including WBA champion Kiryl Relikh and WBO champion Maurice Hooker, Ramirez made it clear in a recent interview that he is excited to prove he is the best of the bunch.


“I’m ready to fight them all. This is what I signed up for, to fight the best. They know that I’m going to bring it. I know that all the champions and contenders at 140 pounds are going to bring it,” Ramirez said. “This is what boxing needs. It’s guys like us that are very hungry. All the top fighters at 140 pounds are talented and hungry. I’m excited to be in the mix with them.”


With a world title on the line and a hometown audience supporting him, Ramirez couldn’t be more excited to show why he is a world champion. However a motivated Orozco also knows this is the opportunity of a lifetime and he wants to make the most of it.


In a recent interview, Espinoza spoke about his fighter’s motivation and his plans to leave Fresno with a world title around his waist.


“He’s in great shape and he knows what a great opportunity this is,” said Espinoza. I think, style-wise, this is a can’t-miss fight. Ramirez is an Olympian and a very good fighter, so naturally we have a lot of respect for him but Antonio is very motivated and determined going into the bout. He is in fantastic shape; his weight isn’t a problem and I think his style is just going to make for a great fight.”


Asked to make a prediction, Espinoza was quick to point out out that he feels his fighter is going to surprise a lot of people and leave Fresno with the title.


“I know some people might think going into the Save Mart Center to fight Ramirez might be tough, with the crowd rooting for Jose and all of that. Yeah, (Orozco) might get a few boos but he knows that, at the end of the day, it is just Antonio and Jose in the ring and the fans won’t matter. It’s just the two fighters”, said Espinoza. “I’m not going to share any of the game plan but I will say that the fans are in for a great fight and we are confident that Antonio Orozco is going to walk out of the ring a world champion.”




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