Gilberto Ramirez is apparently trying to make up for lost time.
The former 168-titleholder and current light heavyweight Mexican contender has seen his career go by the wayside in recent years due to promotional issues–he fought only twice in the past two years–but he has seemingly found his footing after signing with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this spring.
His first fight under the new banner is on July 9, against rugged Cuban gatekeeper Sullivan Barrera at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on DAZN. And while he has no plans of looking past his current opponent, Ramirez made it clear he wants a big name to materialize before the end of 2021, and the skilled WBA champion from Kyrgyzstan, Dmitry Bivol, is at the top of his list. Plus, it helps that Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) happens to be something of a stablemate. (Bivol is promoted by Matchroom).
“I’d like to fight Dmitry Bivol–he is more available, because he’s with DAZN,” Ramirez (41-0, 27 KOs) told the SiriusXM radio show At The Fights. “I’m with Golden Boy. They have a deal with DAZN too. I think the fight can happen by the end of this year.”
It would not exactly be a meeting between sworn enemies, however.
“I’ve trained with [Bivol] before,” continued Ramirez, who moved up to the light heavyweight division in 2019. “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?”
The other two champions in the light heavyweight division, Joe Smith Jr. (WBO) and Artur Beterbiev (IBF WBC), are probably not feasible options for Ramirez, at least in the short term. Both Smith (27-3, 21 KOs) and Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) fight exclusively on ESPN, due to the fact that they are promoted by Top Rank, Ramirez’s former promoter with whom he had a bitter falling out.
After a dominant, if lackluster, run at super middleweight, in which he defended his WBO title five times after claiming it from Arthur Abraham in 2016, the 30-year-old Ramirez clearly feels the clock ticking.
“I want to be a champion again,” said Ramirez. “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.”