LAS VEGAS (August 31, 2023) –- At the age of 32 and coupled with 14 years as a professional boxer, natural growth has forced former world super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) to move up in weight to the cruiserweight division from light heavyweight.
“Zurdo” will make his cruiserweight debut on October 7th versus former world light heavyweight champion Joe “The Common Man” Smith, Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) at a 190-pound catchweight, headlining a Golden Boy Promotions event to be streamed live on DAZN from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Ramirez, fighting out of Mazatlán, Mexico, has simply outgrown the 175-pound weight class. In several of his most recent fights, “Zurdo” has entered the ring nearing just shy of 200-pounds, despite officially making weight the day before.
“This fight marks my move up to the cruiserweight division,” Ramirez explained. “This decision is based on a combination of factors that my team and I carefully considered. One of the main reasons is my natural growth and development as an athlete. As I’ve progressed during my career, I’ve gained muscle mass and strength, making it more suitable for me to compete in the cruiserweight division.
“Additionally, we believe that this move will provide exciting new challenges and opportunities for me. The cruiserweight division is known for its competitive and diverse talent pool, and I’m eager to test my skills against opponents with different styles and strengths. This transition also aligns with my long-term goals in the sport, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to make a positive impact in this new weight class. I’ve worked closely with my coaches and trainers to ensure a smooth transition in terms of training, strategy, and overall preparation. While it is a new chapter in my career, I’m embracing the change and looking forward to proving myself at cruiserweight.”
Ramirez hasn’t fought since his unsuccessful challenge last November against World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitriy Bivol (20-0), dropping a 12-round unanimous decision in Abu Dhabi. “Zurdo” was scheduled to fight March 18th as a light heavyweight versus Gabe Rosado, but their fight was canceled when Ramirez came in overweight.
Rather than take a tune-up fight in his new weight class, “Zurdo” will take on Smith, who has defeated Bernard Hopkins, Andrzej Fonfara and Eleider Alvarez, among the more notables. The dangerous New Yorker from Long Island has stopped 22 of the 28 opponents he has defeated to date.
“I have nothing but respect for Joe,” Ramirez said. “He is a hard hitter and former world champion. But when I made this move to cruiserweight, I specifically asked my promoter for the toughest guys in the division to create a path to a world title fight. I’m a fighter and there has never been a fight I’ve dodged or turned down in my career and this is no different.
“Of course, any fight at this level will definitely shape the future and the next possible steps. I know how hard the stakes are and I want to prove to myself that I can be a world champion in this division.”
Ramirez was still highly rated as a light heavyweight when he announced his decision to campaign as a cruiserweight: The Ring #4, WBO #6, and WBA #7.