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Dmitry Bivol vs. Gilberto Ramirez ordered by WBA

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By Matt Lieberman: The WBA ordered Dmitry Bivol to defend his light heavyweight title on Monday against #1 Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez next.

Fans wanted to see Bivol battle IBF/WBC/WBO 175-lb champion Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed championship next, but that fight can’t happen now.

Besides the WBA’s decision to order Bivol-Ramirez, Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum is already planning on having him defend against #1 WBO Anthony Yarde in October in London.

The news of the World Boxing Association’s decision to order Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) to defend against former WBO 168-lb champion Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) won’t make Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn happy.

Hearn had hoped to set up a fight between Bivol and #2 WBA Joshua Buatsi next for a battle in the UK. Unfortunately for Hearn, the WBA has chosen Ramirez, so he’ll have to wait until next year to get Buatisi a title shot against whoever holds the belt.

Ramirez’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya, was overjoyed at hearing about the WBA ordering the fight with Bivol, and he’s already asking fans whether they prefer to travel to Las Vegas or Los Angeles to watch the fight live.

For Bivol, it won’t matter if he fights in front of a large pro-Zurdo Ramirez crowd next, as he showed in his recent victory over Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas that he’s immune to fans cheering for his opponent.

“Now that the @WBABoxing ordered Zurdo vs. Bivol, where would you travel to see it? Vegas or Los Angeles,” said Oscar Dela Hoya on Twitter.

De La Hoya might not be too happy if Bivol exposes the painfully slow Ramirez and outboxes him as he did against Canelo Alvarez.

The tall 6’3″ Ramirez was a good fighter when he campaigned at 168, capturing the WBO super middleweight title in 2016 and successfully defending it five times until vacating it in 2019 when he moved up to 175.

In going up to 175, Ramirez has slowed down and lost his little hand speed. At the same time, Ramirez’s power hasn’t improved, and he is just big & slow for the weight class. He was arguably a better fighter at 168.

Ramirez had it easy earning his #1 spot at 175 since moving up to light heavyweight in 2019. In Zurdo Ramirez’s five fights in the division, he’s beaten these less than dangerous contenders:

  • Dominic Boesel
  • Yunieski Gonzalez
  • Sullivan Barrera
  • Alfonso Lopez
  • Tommy Karpency

Some boxing fans complained that Ramirez should have fought Craig Richards, Buatsi, or Callum Smith to earn the #1 spot with the WBA.

In Ramirez’s last fight, he stopped an overmatched Boesel in the fourth round last May on DAZN in Ontario, California.

The size difference between the two was enormous, with Ramirez rehydrating to 203 lbs and looking like a cruiserweight inside the ring.

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