The next chapter of Jose Ramirez’s career — this one as a world champion — will occur with a new voice in his corner. After a long and successful partnership with Freddie Roach, Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) hired Robert Garcia as his head trainer following his unanimous decision victory over Amir Imam on March 17 to win the vacant WBC super lightweight championship.
Ramirez, from Avenal, California, will make his first title defense on July 7 at the Save Mart Center in nearby Fresno against Danny O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs).
Ramirez worked out for the media Wednesday at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy.
This is what Ramirez and Garcia had to say.
On fighting in Fresno as a champion
“I believe the excitement of the people to see me return home as a world champion is going to be huge. Everybody in the Central Valley watched my fight March 17 at Madison Square Garden when I beat Amir Imam to become world champion. I think the excitement and the pride that they’re going to come into the Save Mart Center with is going to make the atmosphere so much better.”
“My goal was to fight in Fresno, to showcase my skills in front of my fans, family, and friends. Once that happened, I was able to headline a show in Fresno, and everything started to fall into place. I’m honored that we’re able to defend the title in Fresno, thanks to Top Rank and the team that worked hard to get this fight done. I’m living a dream.”
On being a big favorite against Danny O’Connor.
“I feel like I have a responsibility as a world champion, so that responsibility helps me stay focused and grounded. This fight will only lead to bigger fights. It’s another step to fighting the big fights.”
On the 140-pound division
“I want to fight all of the champions, but I have to take care of business July 7 against Danny O’Connor first. I am excited to come home and defend my title. It’s going to be a great night for the Central Valley of California.”
On working with Ramirez
"I’d met him before. In the amateurs, everyone knew about Jose. I saw him fight in Fresno, and he would come to my gym in Oxnard, spar a few rounds. I’ve known him for a long time, and it’s great to be working with him."
Ramirez vs. O’Connor will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET. Undercard bouts, including appearances by Central Valley prospect Bryan Lua and heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz Jr., will stream on ESPN+ starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Also appearing on ESPN+ in a six-round special attraction will be blue-chip prospect Gabe Flores Jr. of Stockton, California, who signed with Top Rank as a 16-year-old in November 2016, becoming the youngest fighter ever signed by the promotional company.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Star Boxing and Murphys Boxing, tickets to this world championship event, priced at $150 (floor), 90, $60, $35, $20, and $10, plus applicable fees, are ON SALE NOW and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or at the Save Mart Center box office. For more information and box office hours, visit www.savemartcenter.com