Fed up by the lack of big fight opportunities, Gilberto ‘Zurdo' Ramirez has everyone on his hit list, including some premier names in the heavyweight division. “I think I'm ready for anybody,” he told NYFights in Tuesday morning's exclusive interview. “Anthony Joshua is easy money for me. [Unbeaten unified heavyweight champion] Oleksandr Usyk was really tough for Joshua, and I think I can do the same thing.”
Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) dominated Joshua en route to a 12-round unanimous decision victory last September 25 in London to take the WBA, WBO, and IBF belts. A rematch is likely to take place in June, with Saudi Arabia among the locations being considered.
Ramirez (43-0, 29 KOs), a southpaw who was the first Mexican in boxing history to claim a super middleweight title, has been competing at 175-pounds since April 2019 and has knocked out all four of his opponents to date. But knocking out just anyone is not enough for the 30-year-old.
In a March 2021 interview with RingTV, Ramirez said his goal was to become a two-division world champion. However, with the 175-pound titles locked up and virtually no one calling him out, Ramirez isn't waiting for a lottery ticket.
Unbeaten WBC, IBF titlist Artur Beterbiev is taking on Joe Smith Jr. in a title unification on June 18 at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York, and pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez squares off against undefeated WBA champion Dmitry Bivol on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “If they don't want to fight me, it would be good for [my career] to move up [in weight] and challenge the other world champions. I don't mind moving up to face [WBC cruiserweight titlist] Ilunga Makabu (29-2, 25 KOs). For me, I'm ready for anyone.”
“It's just tough. All of the [175-pound] champions are unavailable, and it's not my fault. But [that doesn't matter], I have to remain active and keep working and [beat all of the fighters] that I have in front of me. I know that sooner or later, those big fights will come. Right now, I'm doing my own thing. But soon, my time will come. At the end of the day, I want to make history, and I will do it.”
Instead of a world title shot, Ramirez is stuck facing Germany's Dominic Boesel. The scheduled 12-round bout will headline a Golden Boy Promotions on the DAZN card. On paper, Boesel (32-2, 12 KOs) is the No.1-ranked WBA contender, while Ramirez is ranked second. In his last WBA-sanctioned event, Boesel was literally knocked out in the third round by Robin Krasniqi. However, he did win a disputed split decision over the Kosovo-born fighter last October 9. However, that bout was actually for another secondary title. So how Boesel is still ranked above an undefeated former world champion doesn't really make much sense, but that's boxing and the WBA in a nutshell.
We asked Ramirez if Boesel was the only fighter approached by Golden Boy to fight him. “[He was], yes. We looked [exclusively] at Boesel. I think it will be a great fight on May 14. I know that he will come with everything that he has. He will be a tough fight for me.”
Ramirez signed a multi-fight deal with Golden Boy last year but previously spent seven years with Bob Arum's Top Rank before the company decided not to renew his contract. Albeit the split was announced as “mutual and amicable,” and Ramirez has—on numerous occasions—thanked the organization and its staff for supporting his career, he has never opened up much about the fracture. We gave him the opportunity.
“They made a mistake. I'm a real Mexican; I'm the real deal, but it is what it is. We did a great job. I'm [very grateful] for what they did for my career. I think I accomplished a lot with them. We worked for a long time together. I'm happy with what we did, but we moved on, and that's it.”
And if Ramirez defeats Boesel, which is heavily favored, he will become the mandatory challenger to Canelo-Bivol, and ESPN, without a doubt, will miss the party. Zurdo offered his thoughts on how he believes Mexico vs. Russia will play out. “I think it will be a great fight for Bivol, but after the fight, his career will turn a 360 because right now Canelo is the pound-for-pound [king]. I don't think Bivol will beat Canelo, but it will go the distance.”
Should Canelo win, he is expected to face bitter rival Gennadiy Golovkin in a third and likely final battle on September 17 for the undisputed 168-pound world championship. Last November, Alvarez won the last piece of the puzzle with an 11th-round knockout of previously unbeaten IBF beltholder Caleb Plant to become Mexico's first undisputed super middleweight world champion.
Nonetheless, Zurdo, who hails from the gang-infested streets of Sinaloa, Mazatlan, wants all the smoke. “I want the winner. I will become a champion again.”