By Allan Fox: WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs) suffered a hand injury this week on Tuesday during a sparring session. The injury is to the extent that Ramirez, 25, will need to pull out of his scheduled fight against challenger Dominik Britsch (32-2-1, 11 KOs) for the July 23 card that was scheduled for HBO PPV. Ramirez won’t be able to fight for five months, as his hand will need surgery.
The injury could delay Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s plans of matching Ramirez against unbeaten middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. The 84-year-old Arum wanted to put Ramirez in with Golovkin in early 2017 after having him fight two more times in 2016. That’s not going to happen now due to Ramirez’s hand injury.
Ramirez could fight once more this year possibly, but it would be a real risk for him to fight a dangerous fighter like Golovkin in the first quarter of next year without more experience.
“Gilberto Ramirez sustained an injury to the third knuckle of his right hand after a punch to the head of his sparring partner,” Dr. Steven Shin said to ESPN.com. “I examined Gilberto later (Tuesday) and ordered an MRI of his right hand. The MRI revealed a complete tear of the ulnar sagittal band at the third metacarpophalangeal joint (knuckle) of his right hand, a region of the hand that is commonly injured in boxers. Gilberto will undergo surgery this Friday for repair of this injury. We anticipate that the soonest he will be able to fight competitively will be in approximately five months.”
Ramirez was supposed to be fighting the 28-year-old German Britsch on the undercard of the light welterweight unification match between WBO 140lb champion Terence Crawford and WBC champ Viktor Postol on July 23. Both fighters are with Top Rank, as is Ramirez.
Without Ramirez on the card, Top Rank will need to find a replacement that can attract some interest. Arum was hoping to attract a fair amount of PPV buys, but it’s unclear whether there will be enough interest from fans to want to pay to see Crawford and Postol fight it out. These two will be fighting on PPV for the first time.
Ramirez’s surgery is scheduled for this Friday. His initial title defense of his WBO belt will need to come at a later date. It’s unclear whether Britisch will still be his opponent when he does make his defense. This was a voluntary defense for Ramirez.