Undefeated light heavyweight contender Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez 42-0 (28) is calling out all the big names at 175-pounds but the one he wants most is WBA champion Dmitry Bivol 18-0 (11).
The 30-year-old Mexican southpaw, who made five defences of the WBO super middleweight title before moving up in weight in 2019, faced his third opponent in his new weight class when he took on fringe contender Sullivan Barrera 22-4 (14) at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California on Friday night.
Ramirez was a class above Miami-based Cuban Barrera, 39, sending him to the canvas with a body shot in the third. Although he ran out of time to finish him off in that round, Ramirez was straight back to work in the fourth, dropping Barrera twice more with body blows.
After the third time referee Thomas Taylor halted the contest at the 1:38 mark.
“I had been training for landing those body shots. I want to take all the belts,” said Ramirez.
Heavy-handed Russian Artur Beterbiev 16-0 (16) is the WBC and IBF boss at light heavyweight while American Joe Smith Jr 27-3 (21) is the WBO boss, but it is Bivol that Ramirez wants first.
“I’d like to fight Dmitry Bivol,” Ramirez said to SiriusXM. “He is more available, because he’s with DAZN. I’m with Golden Boy [Promotions]. They have a deal with DAZN too. I think the fight can happen by the end of this year.”
Ramirez and Bivol are hardly strangers.
“I’ve trained with [Bivol] before,” Ramirez continued. “He’s my friend. I’ve worked with him, we’ve done a lot of sparring before. It’s an interesting fight. People are asking for it. Why not?
“I want to be a champion again. I need to fight Bivol, Beterbiev, all of them. I feel like I have more skills [than anybody else]. This is my division. I want to take all the belts, all the fights and get to 50-0 and break the record.”
In the main support bout Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz 32-1-1 (15) delivered a fine performance to outpoint Javier Fortuna 36-3-1 (25) to claim the interim WBC lightweight title by scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112.
In the all-southpaw battle Diaz was cut over his left eye from an unintentional clash of heads in the third and in the fourth he was deducted a point for hitting behind the head.
In the second half of the bout it was Diaz’s sharper, harder punches that told the story of the fight. He had Fortuna rocked late in the 10th and came away with a well-deserved points victory.
“He was a warrior,” Diaz said after the fight. “I thought I would easily land body shots, but he’s a slick defensive fighter. He’s very talented. I wish him the best and I hope he continues.”
Diaz, who has previously campaigned at featherweight and more recently super featherweight, stepped in to replaced Ryan Garcia 21-0 (18) who withdrew from the fight in late April citing mental health concerns.
“I can fight all the top guys at 135 pounds,” he said. “I want Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney. Let’s make this shit happen.”