By Miguel Maravilla
WBC super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez (24-0, 16 KOs) of Avenal, California, will have his biggest test to date late this month when he faces WBO super lightweight champion Maurice Hooker (26-0-3, 17 KOs) of Dallas, Texas. Ramirez and Hooker will square off in a title unification bout on July 27 at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN. Fightnews.com® caught up with the champ to talk about his upcoming unification fight.
“I have a fight coming up with Maurice Hooker, my WBC title on the line vs. his WBO title. It’s a big unification match in Texas and I’m really looking forward to it,” Ramirez told us. “It’s a big fight.”
Ramirez has been training in Riverside, California with his trainer Robert Garcia at his stacked and talented stable in preparation for Hooker.
“My preparation has been the best. We know the magnitude of this fight and the opportunity to become unified champion. That just gives me that extra fire and energy to push myself in this camp every day at the gym were working smart and hard,” Ramirez said.
His opponent Hooker has made two successful title defenses since winning the WBO title over Terry Flanagan via decision. He scored a spectacular knockout over previously undefeated Alex Saucedo in Saucedo’s hometown of Oklahoma, City last November in his first defense and in his last fight he won a unanimous decision over Mikkel Les Pierre. Just to add to the mix, Hooker has handed his last four opponents their first defeat.
“He’s very long and rangy. He uses his distance well and is a tough guy. He’s improved a lot and I’m looking forward to fighting a champion like him. He’s a humble champion,” Ramirez said. “I was there at that fight in Oklahoma City. It was a great fight he went down and got up like a true champion.”
For Ramirez, this will be the third defense of his WBC title he won over Amir Imam at the Garden last year and he’s coming off a tough unanimous decision over Jose Zepeda, who gave him all he can handle in going the distance this past February. Ramirez was impressive in his prior bout winning a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Antonio Orozco.
“My last fight was a good fight, that fight was just a learning experience and it will make me a better fighter overall,” Ramirez commented.
Not only does Ramirez fight for himself but every time he steps foot in the ring, he fights for a cause. Living in California’s agricultural Central Valley, Ramirez fights to bring attention to water droughts that have plagued that entire basin for years. Ramirez has been a big advocate in the ‘Fight for Water’ since he turned pro. Since becoming champion Ramirez continues to fight for noble causes. In his last fight, he dedicated the fight and raised funds for a cancer organization.
“I dedicated that fight to all the people affected by cancer. We were able to donate that money,” Ramirez said. “I do everything I can to fight for any cause, water, and immigration,” Ramirez added.
Being the son of Mexican immigrants from the Mexican state of Michoacan, Ramirez also talked about immigration issues as he is proud of his Mexican roots.
“I fight for those that work hard to be in this country. There have been many issues lately on immigration. I myself am the son of hard-working immigrants that came from Mexico,” Ramirez stated. “Many people that have come to this country have been here, have settled and established their families here. This is their home and their way of life.”
With less than a month to go for the unification, Ramirez is nearly in the final phases of training camp before he will head to the Lone Star State. Ramirez has no issue going into Hooker’s backyard as the WBO champ hails from Dallas, just north of Arlington where the fight will take place.
“I’m looking forward to fighting in Texas. There is a lot of Raza (Mexicans/Latinos) there, so I’m looking forward to showcasing my skills. This is how you become a superstar in the sport of boxing,” Ramirez said.
“Don’t miss it July 27th. It will be a hell of a fight,” he concluded.
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