Ramirez vs Hart Headlines ESPN Friday Night – Top Rank Boxing is back on ESPN this Friday night with a big card headlined by two WBO world title fights. Top Rank is featuring a pair of 26-year-old owners of WBO world title belts as Gilberto Ramirez and Oscar Valdez are the showcase fighters.
Ramirez owns the WBO world title at 168 pounds and he takes on Jesse Hart as he defends his belt for the second time. Ramirez has an impressive 35-0 professional record and he won the WBO belt back in April of 2016 when he won a wide unanimous decision victory over long-time champion Arthur Abraham of Germany. Abraham had been in the world title picture for the past decade but Ramirez was able to outbox the champion and take the belt. The judges had it for Ramirez by scores of 120-108 across the board, so it was not close.
Ramirez was off for the next year and then returned to defend his title this past April, when he won a UD over veteran Max Bursak. The Bursak fight was deemed lackluster by most observers so Ramirez enters this fight looking to show that he is sharp and ready to build momentum again. Ramirez did show that he has overcome a hand injury that was the main reason for his year-long layoff.
In Hart, he is facing a hungry fighter with a good pedigree and a knockout punch. Hart doesn’t have a resume with a lot of big names but at 22-0 the time for a big test is now.
The second world title fight sees young Oscar Valdez entering his third world title defense as he faces undefeated Genesis Servania of the Philippines. Valdez is a slugger who has 19 knockouts in his 22 fights and the hope on the part of Top Rank is that he will dominate the featherweight ranks for some time to come. Though he was forced to go the distance in his last outing against Colombia’s tough Miguel Marriaga, he showed wrinkles to his boxing game in outclassing his opponent over the twelve rounds.
Servania is coming in a considerable underdog for this one. His resume in the Philippines and in Japan consists of largely unknown fighters. His success in Japan speaks of some pedigree and mental toughness, however, as he has gone 3-0 in fights held in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Ramirez and Valdez are both earmarked for big things in the future by Top Rank and these fights on ESPN are showcases for the young champions. Check your local listings for start times.
Top Rank is putting on an eight-fight boxing card with a lot of their high profile up and comers on this card. Lightweight women’s prospect Mikaela Mayer is fighting her second pro fight and Irish Olympic sensation Michael Conlan is making his fourth professional appearance. All of Conlan’s previous pro fights have gotten a look at the sportsbooks, so check back closer to fight time to see if lines have been added for his fight.
Tucson Convention Center Tucson, AZ Friday, Sept 22 – ESPN
Super Middleweight 12 Rounds –
Jesse Hart +185
Gilberto Ramirez -265
Featherweight 12 Rounds –
Genesis Servania +505
Oscar Valdez -915
Ramirez vs Hart Headlines ESPN Friday Night / Check out more boxing news and fetures at The Sweet Science, where the best boxing writers write.
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