Ramirez retains WBO title on points, but Saucedo and Zappavigna steal the show with FOTY candadate

By Anthony Cocks

Ramirez vs. Saucedo
Ramirez vs. Saucedo

WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez 37-0 (25) retained his title with a pedestrian twelve round unanimous decision win over Roamer Alexis Angulo 23-1 (20) at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Saturday night live on ESPN.


In the fourth defense of his title, Ramirez out-boxed the previously undefeated Colombian by scores of 119-109, 120-108 and 119-109.


The 34-year-old Angulo came into the fight with an impressive knockout ratio of 87% but a closer examination of his record shows that many of those wins came against largely unknown boxers with losing records. Still, the WBO Latino belt was enough to get him a number eight ranking at 168-pounds by the Puerto Rican sanctioning body.


The 27-year-old southpaw champion fought a smart and effective fight from range, largely avoiding Angulo’s vaunted big right hand. In the third round Angulo landed a hard straight right on the Mexican titleholder but was unable to follow it up with anything significant.


In the fifth Angulo stung Ramirez against with a right, but the champion returned serve with a left cross that evened the ledger. A left hook from the challenger in the seventh rocked Ramirez, but he was able to keep Angulo on the outside and prevent him from capitalising for the rest of the round.


Angulo did his best to land a fight-altering punch in the championship rounds but just as had happened in the 10 rounds preceding, Ramirez dictated the pace and landed the sharper, cleaner blows to run away a clear-cut winner on the scorecards.


In an outstanding fight Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo 28-0 (18) walked through hell to earn a bloody and hard-fought victory over rugged Australian Leonardo “Lenny Zappa” Zappavigna 37-4 (28) when the veteran’s corner threw in the towel late in the seventh round of the scheduled 10 round bout.


Both boxers showed tremendous mettle throughout the contest to overcome cuts and near-knockout punches that had both warriors hurt at various stages of the fight.


Fighting in front of his adopted hometown, the Meoqui, Chihuahua-born Saucedo dropped the 30-year-old pressure fighter in the third frame but this only appeared to spur Zappavigna on. The aggressive Australian, who was cut early in the fight, rallied in the fourth round, landing blows from both hands to Saucedo’s body and head and opening a cut over his right eye.


In the fifth round the 5-foot-10 Saucedo, 24, wrested back control of the fight behind his long jab, tattooing Zappavigna’s face with lefts and rights and by the end of the sixth the game Australian’s left eye was closing and his face was a mask of blood.


Ramirez vs. Saucedo
Ramirez vs. Saucedo

The seventh round was target practice for Saucedo against the one-eyed Aussie until the visitor’s corner threw in the towel at 2:31 of the round.


The fight can be added to the shortlist of ‘Fight of the Year’ and the fourth round is clear contender for ‘Round of the Year’.


With the win Saucedo earns a shot at recently crowned WBO junior welterweight champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker 24-0-3 (16) who claimed the vacant title with a split decision victory over Terry Flanagan 33-1 (13) in Manchester in early June.


Heavyweight prospect Trey Lippe Morrison 15-0 (15) kept his knockout streak alive with a third round TKO over tough journeyman Byron Polley 30-23-1 (13) in a scheduled eight round bout. The son of former heavyweight titleholder Tommy Morrison had Polley on the canvas five times before the bout was stopped at 1:39 of the third.


Former welterweight world title challenger “Mile High” Mike Alvarado 39-4 (27) stopped Martin Angel Martinez 18-15-1 (11) in nine rounds of their scheduled 10 round bout.




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