Ramirez looking to make history vs. Goulamirian

Boxing

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will attempt to become the heaviest Mexican champion of all time when he challenges Armenia’s Arsen Goulamirian for the WBA cruiserweight title Saturday in Inglewood, California.

Ramirez (27-0, 19 KOs) is a former 168-pound titleholder who will compete at the 200-pound limit for the first time as he looks to make history as the first Mexican champion above 175 pounds. Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez, boxing’s top star, won a title at 175 in 2019 when he knocked out Sergey Kovalev.

But there has never been a Mexican-born champion at cruiserweight (200 pounds) or heavyweight (Andy Ruiz defeated Anthony Joshua for the unified heavyweight championship in 2019, but he’s a Mexican American born and raised in Southern California).

“It’s something special because we never have [had] a Mexican [champion] that big,” Ramirez, 32, told ESPN. “… [A win] will be big for me, for all the fans in Mexico, for all the people. I think it’s history.”

Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) suffered his first career defeat when he challenged light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in November 2022. Afterward, Ramirez moved up to cruiserweight for a 193-pound catchweight decision win over Joe Smith in October.

The cruiserweight division has mostly been an afterthought in the U.S. since it was introduced in 1979. The legendary Evander Holyfield starred in the division as champion from 1986 to 1988 before he moved to heavyweight. And ever since, the cruiserweights have mostly been dormant stateside while being featured across Europe.

“We’ve never had a big, major rivalry or a big-name fighter at cruiserweight the way we’ve had with middleweights and heavyweights,” Ramirez’s promoter, Hall of Fame boxer Oscar De La Hoya, told ESPN. “So I think that weight class just kind of gets lost in the shuffle a bit. But I think Zurdo has an opportunity here … if he looks great.”

Ramirez, who is 6-foot-2½, said he walks around between 210 and 215 pounds and believes he will have more power in his new weight class. ESPN’s No. 6 cruiserweight, Ramirez is a -215 favorite to defeat Goulamirian, per ESPN BET.

Goulamirian (27-0, 19 KOs) hasn’t competed since November 2022 and is now being trained by Abel Sanchez, who built Gennadiy Golovkin into a star boxer. Goulamirian has made three title defenses, and all but three of his bouts have taken place in France. “This is my first fight in [the] United States and I am planning to put on a show,” Goulamirian, 36, said through his new adviser, Sam Katkovski. “Cruiserweight has not been a division [that’s] popular in [the] United States, but I plan on changing that on Saturday.”

Joel Iriarte, a 17-time national amateur champion, will make his professional debut on the DAZN undercard after he signed with De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions earlier this month.

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