All eyes are on Gilberto Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) hailing from the vibrant shores of Mazatlán, Mexico and Joe Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs), Long Island’s very own. They’re gearing up to duke it out in a WBA Cruiserweight Eliminator fight. The stakes? The winner is straight off to a world championship bout. The fight, co-hosted with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, will kick off live from The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and streamed live on DAZN starting at 5:00 p.m. PT.
Spicing up the co-main event is Bektemir Melikuziev (12-1, 9 KOs) of Shoimbek, Uzbekistan (with a dash of Indio, California representation). He’s squaring up against Alantez “SlyAza” Fox (28-4-1, 13 KOs) of Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Expect a defense of his WBA Intercontinental Super Middleweight Title in a 10-round showdown.
Adding some flavor to the DAZN card: Darius “DFG” Fulghum (7-0, 7 KOs) gets into the ring with Alan Campa (18-8, 12 KOs) from Guaymas, Mexico for an eight-round light heavyweight battle. With Fulghum’s knockout spree lately, it’s no wonder he’s back so soon after his September 16 victory. Kicking things off will be Fort Lauderdale’s Eric Tudor (9-0, 6 KOs) in an eight-round super welterweight clash against Jose Sanchez (13-3-1, 4 KOs) from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Warming up the ring in preliminaries, Tristan “Sweet T” Kalkreuth (11-1, 8 KOs) of Carolton, Texas will throw down with Aaron “Ghozt Mas” Casper (7-4-2, 5 KOs) from Augusta, Georgia in an eight-round cruiserweight brawl. While Daniel “Ikaika” Luna (3-0, 3 KOs), fresh from a knockout win on September 7, aims to deliver some déjà vu in a four-round super lightweight contest against Erick Benitez (4-5, 1 KO) from Guadalajara, Mexico.
The prelims don’t stop there! Up next, in an eight-round junior middleweight battle, Star Boxing’s Jahyae “Golden Child” Brown (13-1, 9KO’s) takes on Youngstown, Ohio’s Victor Toney (7-2-1, 6KO’s). Joining the undercard is the undefeated New Jersey sensation, Rajon “Picasso” Chance (8-0-1, 6KO’s), as he steps into an eight-round featherweight fight with Orlando Perez Zapata (13-0, 9KO’s) straight out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Lastly, a slight schedule shuffle: The clash between John “Scrappy” Ramirez (12-0, 8 KOs) and Ronal Batista (15-3, 9 KOs) from Panama City will now unfold on the Rocha vs. Santillan card come October 21.
“Zurdo” Ramirez is out to make a statement. A pro for almost 15 years, Ramirez has built an impressive résumé, taking down warriors like Maxim Vlasov, Jessie Hart, and Arthur Abraham. That victory against Abraham earned him the WBO Super Middleweight World Crown. The only mar on his record comes from a gutsy showdown against Dmitriy Bivol in November 2022. Ramirez is primed and ready, eyes on the prize, eager to take on the cruiserweight division’s heaviest hitters.
“I am ready to take over the cruFgusiserweight division and wrap another championship belt around my waist,” declared Ramirez. “A big thank you to my fans, Golden Boy, DAZN, the WBA, and my entire corner that have stood by me in this season of transformation. Joe Smith Jr. is no pushover; he’s got an appetite for battle. We both had our sights set on this fight at light heavyweight years ago, and now it’s on. See you in Vegas!”
Joe Smith Jr., the iron-chinned former light heavyweight World Champion, is no stranger to defying odds. Clinching the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title after a relentless performance against Maxim Vlasov in April 2021, Smith then defended his title against Steve Geffrard and later fell to Artur Beterbiev in an epic unification clash. With a boxing ledger that boasts wins over Bernard Hopkins, Eleider Alvarez, Jessie Hart, and Andrzej Fonfara, Smith’s debut in the cruiserweight division against Ramirez promises fireworks.
“It feels great to be back, especially against ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez,” said Smith Jr. “This year has been a hard one, and the loss of my brother, Alex, was devastating. But I know he’ll be with me in the ring. He was my biggest fan and he’d be thrilled to see me back. The Common Man is back, and I hope to bring joy and inspiration back to my family through this fight.”
Golden Boy Promotions’ Chairman and CEO, Oscar De La Hoya, remarked, “‘Zurdo’ beat everyone at super middleweight, becoming a world champion and a feared fighter. Now, with a fresh challenge and a new division to conquer, he’s more determined than ever. I predict a grea performance on his way to the cruiserweight world championship.”
Star Boxing’s CEO, Joe DeGuardia, added excitement to the mix, stating, “We are ecstatic to announce Joe Smith Jr.’s return at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas live on DAZN. He’s had a tough year, but true to form, he wants the toughest challenge. Champion vs Champion, two former world champs facing off – this is must-see action, and I can’t wait to see Joe back in the ring on October 7th.”
GILBERTO “ZURDO” RAMIREZ, FORMER WORLD CHAMPION: “I appreciate everyone’s presence. I’m grateful to God for this moment. I’m truly privileged to be here. My gratitude to Golden Boy and Joe Smith for accepting the fight. The last time I fought in Las Vegas was at the Cosmopolitan, and I aim to end this one just like before—with a victory.”
JOE SMITH JR., FORMER WORLD CHAMPION: “I must say, it’s good to be back. Thanks to Golden Boy Promotions and Star Boxing for the chance. Eagerly awaiting this Saturday. I appreciate you, Zurdo, for this chance. This weekend, I’m set to make an impression.”
BEKTEMIR MELIKUZIEV, WBA INTERCONTINENTAL SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER: “It’s a joy to return to such a significant card, facing a strong opponent. Thanks to Golden Boy and my team for this. One assurance from me—you won’t want to miss our fight.”
ALANTEZ FOX, SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT FIGHTER: “Firstly, my gratitude to God for his blessings. Shoutout to my supporters at home. Also, a big thank you to Golden Boy Promotions for the chance. Eagerly waiting for Saturday. This is my time.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF GOLDEN BOY: “Glad to be in my new Las Vegas residence! Thrilled to present this fantastic card. This is the essence of collaborative efforts with other promoters.”
“With a former world champion like the first 168-pound Mexican champion and Joe Smith Jr., a hard-worker who’s taken down legends like Bernard Hopkins, we’re expecting an intense fight.”
“We’ve curated an impressive list of fights for the card, highlighting emerging talents and the ones to watch.”
BERNARD HOPKINS, PARTNER OF GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS: “As we wrap up 2023 and step into 2024, we’re on a roll. We’ve got these respectable fighters ready to entertain everyone.”
JOE DE GUARDIA, FOUNDER AND CEO OF STAR BOXING: “Being here for such a significant fight is truly special. These are two individuals ready to give it their all. With both being former World Champions, they’re accepting this substantial challenge head-on.”
Zurdo vs. Smith Fight Details – Start Time
Date & Time:
- Date: Saturday, October 7
- Start Time: 8 p.m. ET / 1 a.m. UK
- Main Event Ringwalks (Approximate): 11 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. UK
Note: The starting times might be adjusted based on the duration of the undercard fights.
- Watch on: DAZN
- Coverage: Live streaming in over 200 countries worldwide.
- Subscription: Sign up for DAZN here.
Venue: The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez vs. Joe Smith Jr. – Cruiserweight
- Bektemir Melikuziev vs. Alantez Fox – Super Middleweight
- Tristan Kalkreuth vs. TBA – Cruiserweight
- Eric Tudor vs. Jose Luis Sanchez – Light Middleweight
- Daniel Luna vs. TBA – Super Lightweight
- Jahyae Brown vs. Victor Toney – Light Middleweight
- Rajon Chance vs. Orlando Perez Zapata – Featherweight