Gilberto Ramirez makes light heavyweight debut

Bill Tibbs reports on Gilberto Ramirez’s fight this Friday against journeyman Tommy Karpency

GRamirez 1200 v 450.jpg
GRamirez 1200 v 450.jpg

Top Rank Boxing, live on the ESPN platform, will feature undefeated, former world super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez (39-0, 25 KO’s) at Staples Centre on April 12, against tough, former world title challenger champion Tommy Karpency (29-6-1, 18 KO’s). 


Former world super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez is undefeated at 39-0. By, all accounts, his first fight in the 175-pounds, a move 7-pounds north after struggling to make 168-pounds on his almost 6’3” frame, should be a winnable first foray into the light heavyweight waters.


It’s “Zurdo’s” first fight at the new weight, so no need to take on too big a challenge. Slotted to play the B-side in the bout is tough, gatekeeper Tommy Karpency of Adah, Pennsylvania who doesn’t mind coming in as the opponent but has upset plans of his own.


While Karpency knows he is indeed the underdog, the 33-year old knows that a win would vault him right back into a huge fight, either for a title or big money, or both. So, make no mistake, he will be motivated.


The bout will be on the undercard of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s lightweight title defense versus Anthony Crolla at Staples Centre in Los Angeles.


Ramirez dominated in 5 successful title defences after winning his 168-pound, WBO in April of 2016. While Ramirez might see himself in some big fights at 175-pounds later in the year, Karpency should be a fairly safe first step.


However, Karpency isn’t without big fight experience having faced Nathan Cleverly and Adonis Stevenson in world title shots in 2012 and 2015 along with battling current WBC world champion Olaksandr Gvozdyk in 2016. Karpency also holds a win over former world champion Chad Dawson in 2014. Heading into the bout, Karpency is on a 3-fight win streak and will be looking to pull off the upset against the heavily favoured Ramirez.


Should Ramirez win, and feel comfortable at 175-pounds, he will be looking at being matched against one of the other champions at light heavyweight. These include Oleksandr Gvozdyk who has the WBC title, Artur Beterbiev who has the IBF strap, WBO boss Sergey Kovalev and Dmityr Bivol who has the WBA title.


Ramirez, who recently got engaged in the ring at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club, (insert joke here - most marriages end in a boxing ring, not start), might be able to shine at the higher weight of 175-pounds in a way that he couldn’t at 168. While Ramirez does hold some impressive wins over a 5-fight title defense reign, he never broke out beyond the hard-core fan following to get to that level of popularity one might expect for an undefeated, well spoken, good looking Mexican boxing champion.


In a recent interview, Ramirez made it very clear what his goals are at 175-pounds.


“I made history when I became the first super middleweight champion in the history of Mexican boxing, and now I’m moving up to the 175-pound division to continue making history,” said Ramirez. “I want to face the best fighters and clean out the division. I want all the titles. I want to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I’m ready to prove I’m an elite fighter.”



The championship names at 175 may very well be Ramirez’s ticket to a wider audience and step 1 is getting past the rugged, determined Karpency in impressive fashion.


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