The Fists will be flying in Fresno
By Bill Tibbs
On Sunday, February 10, wildly popular Central Valley, California WBC junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez will make the 2nd defense of his world title against Jose Zepeda at the SaveMart Centre in Fresno, CA.
While most world title fights take place on a Friday or Saturday night, this will be a rare Sunday edition.
Ramirez will be defending the world title that he won in March of 2018 in Madison Square Garden when he defeated Amir Imam. He then made his first title defense against Antonio Orozco in September of last year before a raucous hometown crowd. This sell-out crowd will be no different as one is hard pressed to find a more popular local fighter who has endeared himself to his fan base.
Rugged in the ring, well-spoken out of it, polite and undefeated, are all things that help to sell your brand to boxing fans. However, it is Ramirez’s work for his community outside of the ring that has really brought the love from his hometown faithful.
The Avanel, California-born star has long been championing the water rights for the many agricultural workers in the region, and in this bout he is focusing on raising funds and awareness for the Community Cancer Institute.
In short, it’s just real hard not to root for a guy like this.
But, it’s been in the ring where he has really made some noise in the sport. While Ramirez would not be described as being particularity outstanding at any one thing, he is very good at all things and that well-rounded game will pay more dividends over the long haul. Once the bell rings he is as determined and hard working a fighter as you will ever see in a boxing ring and as a result has been a very successful over-achiever his entire career.
On February 10th he meets Jose Zepeda who sports a good record with his only loss being against, then world champion, Terrry Flanigan in a title fight that saw him have to make an early exit due to a shoulder injury. Since then he has put together 7 straight wins and is primed for his 2nd title shot.
In a recent interview, Zepeda made it clear that he is very excited for his title opportunity.
"I’ve been waiting for this opportunity since my first world title shot against Terry Flanagan," Zepeda said. “I’m very thankful to my team and Jose Ramirez for giving me this chance. I’m not going to waste it”.
Ramirez will be headlining the big room in Fresno for the 5th time and it sure to be a sell out; his previous 4 appearances have seen him move north of 50,000 tickets. Ramirez has established himself as not just one of the region’s biggest ticket sellers but one of the biggest in all of boxing.
“I feel blessed to defend my title a second time at home against a great opponent and also support an issue that affects everyone and their families,” Ramirez said.“It’s a very important fight because the meaning behind this fight is much bigger than the event itself,” Ramirez said. “Fighting for cancer, fighting for everyone, including Rick’s (promoter Mirigian) mom and many others who have cancer or have gone through cancer. We want to demonstrate that we’re there for them and supporting them and that we’re going to help them in any way to go through cancer.”
While Ramirez is clearly focused on defending his world title, he is also a man who realizes he has the platform to do some wonderful things for his community that extend way beyond boxing and that is truly what makes him a champion - in and out of the ring.