Staples Center, Los Angeles – After a career spent at super middleweight, and five successful title defenses, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) made a statement-making light heavyweight debut, stopping former world title challenger Tommy Karpency (29-7-1, 18 KOs) in four rounds.
Karpency elected to stay on his stool after the fourth round, as he suffered a rib injury in the opening round.
As for Ramirez, it remains to be seen whether he stays at light heavyweight or moves back down to defend his title again.
“I feel more comfortable at 175 pounds than 168,” Ramirez said. “I’m looking for all the champions at 175. I want to be a pound-for-pound fighter.
“I struggled making 168 for a very long time. We’ll see what’s next, but my body felt great at 175. My new head trainer, Julian Chua, did an excellent job preparing me for this fight. Karpency was a tough guy.”
Janibek Alimkhanuly (6-0, 2 KOs), a former amateur standout for his native Kazakhstan, passed the toughest test of his career with a 10-round unanimous decision (100-90 2X and 99-91) over Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13 KOs). Alimkhanuly picked up the WBC Continental Americas and WBO Global middleweight belt, as he outworked Olivas to cruise to victory.
“I hurt my right shoulder in the fight, but I got valuable experience,” Alimkhanuly said. “It’s exactly what I needed.”
It was a short night at the office for Italian heavyweight Guido Vianello (3-0, 3 KOs), who knocked out Lawrence Gabriel (3-2-1, 2 KOs) at 49 seconds of the opening round. Vianello represented his homeland at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I believe this was my strongest performance to date, and I’m only going to get better and better,” Vianello said. “My power is improving with every fight.”
Ruben Rodriguez (6-0, 2 KOs) maintained his unbeaten record with a four-round majority decision (38-38, 39-37 and 40-36) over the battle-tested veteran Ramel Snegur (3-4-1, 2 KOs).