Ramirez-Espinoza, Zayas-Fortea ESPN Doubleheader Official, December 9

Boxing Scene

Two high-stakes showdowns top the bill on a special Top Rank on ESPN card Saturday, Dec. 9 at Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida. 

In the main event, Cuban WBO featherweight king Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez puts his belt on the line against unbeaten Mexican contender Rafael “El Divino” Espinoza. 

In the 10-round junior middleweight co-feature, Puerto Rican sensation Xander Zayas squares off against Spain’s Jorge Fortea.

Ramirez-Espinoza and Zayas-Fortea will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

“We are thrilled to be back in South Florida with a loaded card featuring some incredibly talented fighters,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Ramirez has his hands full against an undefeated challenger who will not be deterred by the moment, and I know Xander Zayas wants to make a huge statement in front of his humongous South Florida fan base.”

Ramirez (13-1, 8 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has been on a dominant trajectory after joining forces with trainer Ismael Salas. The 29-year-old southpaw had a tremendous 2022 in which he stopped Irish veteran Eric Donovan, then-unbeaten Puerto Rican Abraham Nova and Argentine contender Jose Matias Romero. This year has been even better for the fighting pride of Cienfuegos, Cuba, as he soundly defeated former world champion Isaac Dogboe by unanimous decision to capture the WBO featherweight title in April and defended his crown on enemy turf with a fifth-round TKO against Japanese contender Satoshi Shimizu in July.  

Ramirez said, “Miami is for many of us Cubans an important meeting point, where Spanish is spoken, our heritage is celebrated, and we remember our homeland daily through the city’s vibrant culture. Ever since I turned professional, I have wanted to fight near my people of Miami, where I also live. That cherished moment has finally arrived. On December 9, at the Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, I hope to have the support of the Cuban community of Miami and to see our flag waving everywhere.”

Espinoza (21-0, 18 KOs) has dedicated more than a decade to his career in the paid ranks, all leading up to his first opportunity at a world title. He debuted in 2013 and has fought mostly in his native Mexico, save for two early-career bouts in the U.S. A giant in his division at 6’1”, Espinoza will boast a seven-inch height advantage and is coming off a five-fight knockout streak. He tallied stoppage wins over compatriot Rafael Rosas Ramirez in March and Tanzania’s Ally Mwerangi in July.

Espinoza said, “I am happy and grateful for what is happening. The time has come, the opportunity of my life, and I will not waste it. Robeisy is a great champion, and I am glad to face someone like him. I know we will have a great fight, and it will go down in boxing history. I am sure of it.”

Zayas (17-0, 11 KOs) signed with Top Rank at 16 and has been on the path to super stardom ever since his pro debut in October 2019. In 2022, he scored eight-round decision wins over Quincy LaVallais and Alexis Salazar, along with a fifth-round TKO against Elias Espadas. In 2023, he notched a 10-round unanimous decision win over Ronald Cruz during Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend in June and a fifth-round TKO against hard-hitting Roberto Valenzuela Jr. in September. Zayas aims to cement his candidacy for a title shot with his third victory of the year. Fortea (24-3-1, 9 KOs) is a 13-year pro from Spain who coming off a decision win over the previously unbeaten Ismael Flores in April. He is riding a three-bout winning streak and is a former WBC Latino 154-pound belt-holder.

Zayas said, “I am super motivated to close the year with one more fight in which I will be able to continue demonstrating the progress of my skills and maturity as a fighter, which I have achieved thanks to the dedication and all the hard work in the gym. The goal on December 9 is to continue showing that I am prepared for the next step.”

The ESPN+ undercard will showcase some of Top Rank’s best and brightest up-and-coming talents, including:

Rising featherweight Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (9-0, 5 KOs), the fighting pride of Brownsville, Brooklyn, will take on former world title challenger Jason Sanchez (16-4, 9 KOs). Carrington will attempt to go 5-0 this year in his first scheduled 10-rounder. Sanchez lost a unanimous decision to then-WBO featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez in June 2019.

Junior middleweight Jahi Tucker (10-1, 5 KOs) looks to bounce back from his first defeat in an eight-rounder against unbeaten Argentinian Francisco Daniel Veron (13-0, 10 KOs). Tucker overcame a tough Nikoloz Sekhniashvili in April, but dropped a decision to Nicklaus Flaz in July.

Dominican Olympian Rohan Polanco (10-0, 6 KOs) will lock horns against Keith Hunter (15-1, 9 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight tilt. Polanco returns following his most impressive win to date, a fifth-round destruction of Panamanian contender Cesar Francis in July.

U.S. Olympian Tiger Johnson (10-0, 5 KOs) makes his fourth appearance of 2023 in an eight-round junior welterweight fight against Mexico’s Jimmer Espinosa (15-1, 14 KOs). Johnson is coming off a hard-earned majority decision over Ricardo Quiroz in September.

Undefeated heavyweight prospect Damian “Polish Hussar” Knyba (12-0, 7 KOs), a 6-foot-7 behemoth with an 86-inch reach, takes on Scott Alexander (17-6-2, 9 KOs) in an eight-rounder.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Far from done: Katie Taylor adds to legendary career
Sam Noakes Aims To Keep Knockout Streak Going Against Carlos Perez
Benavidez: Canelo Wants ‘Easier Fights Out Of The Way, I’m A Threat To Him’
Boxing streaming and TV schedule for Nov. 29-Dec. 2
Fury vs. Klitschko: Seven days in Düsseldorf with Tyson Fury, heavyweight champion-in-waiting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *