Jose Ramirez looks to capture first world title, in New York, on March 17

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Jose Ramirez. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank


Undefeated Jose Ramirez, 21-0 (16), will fight for his first world title on March 17, in New York City. The fight will be shown nationally on ESPN.


While it won’t be in Fresno, California, where Ramirez enjoys a rabid fan base, it will be at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, a historic spot to take your first crack at a world title strap.


Ramirez will meet Amir Imam, 21-1 (18), of Albany, New York, in a battle for the vacant WBC world junior welterweight title.


While it might be an away game for the California resident Ramirez, who is a huge draw at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, he doesn’t mind taking his act on the road.


Ireland’s undefeated featherweight Michael “Mick” Conlan, who is also appearing on the card, may be a big draw in New York but the fight for all the marbles is the main event featuring Ramirez versus Imam.


Ramirez solidified his place in line for an eventual title shot with an impressive second round knockout of Mike Reed on November 11 in Fresno.


West Coast fight fans have flocked to support Ramirez, who is an exciting puncher-boxer with a fan-friendly ring style. However his fights out of the ring have endeared the 25-year-old to the people in and around his native Avenal, California.


Ramirez took it upon himself to champion for water rights for the agriculture industry, in Central California, which makes up a huge population of workers in the region and has suffered from perennial drought for years. And his tenacity in giving back to the community has not gone unnoticed. Not only do people in the area love and respect him for his efforts for farmers in the area but they have also been more than happy to support their philanthropic hero, as he ascended the rankings toward a major title shot.


In a recent interview, Ramirez made it clear that he is excited to fight for his first world title, even if it’s not at home, in front of his beloved fans.


“I’m honored to fight for the world title in New York at Madison Square Garden,” Ramirez said. “I haven’t taken any shortcuts in my career and now my opportunity has arrived and I’m ready. I always wanted this opportunity.”


And Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, who has done an outstanding job of taking Ramirez from being a local attraction to a regional superstar, thinks it will be a very good fight. However if Iman plans on beating Ramirez, he’d better be at his absolute best on fight night.


“I think it will be a very good fight,” Arum added. “Imam is a very good fighter but it will take a tremendous performance to beat this kid (Ramirez).”


Ramirez comes from a region of blue-collar folks fighting for their rights and the rights of the industry that supports them. The undefeated banger has championed their cause and hasn’t let them down, in or out of the ring, and he has no plans of doing so in New York.


For the people of Fresno, he has always their champion. He just plans on making it official on March 17.


I think it’d be a good idea for Top Rank to reserve the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, for Ramirez’s next fight after Iman. I get the feeling that there are thousands of fans just waiting to throw their champion a welcome home party for his first title defense.




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