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FRESNO’S professional franchise, Jose Ramirez is set for another world title defence homecoming. Ramirez (23-0, 16 KOs) will seek to make the second successful defence of his WBC super-lightweight world title against Jose “Chon” Zepeda (30-1, 25 KOs) on Sunday from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
In the co-feature, former lightweight world champion Ray Beltran will tussle with the unbeaten Hiroki Okada in a 140-pound battle.
And, in a special attraction, 18-year-old sensation Gabriel Flores Jnr. will look to move to 12-0 against Alex Torres Rynn in a six-round lightweight bout.
Ramirez-Zepeda and Beltran-Okada will headline a special Top Rank on ESPN card beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Flores-Rynn will be part of the ESPN+ undercard stream beginning at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.
Jose Ramirez said, “I feel like I’m growing as a fighter. The older I get, the more mature I feel, the more experience I get. I feel like every fight I improve my skills and power. I’m very thankful to have a [trainer] like Robert Garcia. I train in a lot of gyms, but no gym has a family-oriented atmosphere like the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy.
“I feel like I have so many tools in my toolbox, and I’m ready for a guy like Jose Zepeda. He’s a good fighter. He’s a very smart fighter. He doesn’t over-commit. He likes to keep his distance, and I’m ready for that. He’s the type of experienced fighter that’s only going to make me grow. I’m just honoured to be a part of this big fight. There are no easy fights as a world champion. Everybody wants to fight you because they have more to win, obviously. For me, it’s another title defence, but in my mind, I train like I’m an underdog. I train like it’s my first world title.”
Jose Zepeda said, “My first title shot [against Terry Flanagan] was three years ago, and my shoulder gave in and I wasn’t able to continue. I feel like I was ready for that fight. It didn’t work out. After that, I kept working, and I fought probably three months after that. I kept fighting, and three years later, I get the opportunity against Ramirez. I would like to thank Jose Ramirez and his team, especially to fight in this event to KO cancer.”
Zepeda has been training with Freddie Roach, Ramirez’s former trainer. “Freddie is probably the smartest coach out there. He trained Jose, and he told me what everybody knows. He’s a tough fighter, and he has a will to win. We have to box him. He’s a strong guy. Working with Freddie Roach has been great. Like I said, he’s very smart. His advice is great, and we’re ready for this fight,” the challenger said.
“It’s every boxer’s dream [to win a world title.] I get a second opportunity. I’m working hard. Hopefully no accidents happen. That’s all I pray for.”