The Boxing Schedule For The Week Of July 9th-10th – What To Watch
Friday, July 9th, Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, Ca – Live on DAZN, 6 PM PST – Ticket Info Here
Zurdo – The Main Event
For those who are gainfully employed, you might have to jump into this card in the middle of the action, as on the west coast, this card starts at 6 PM PST, undefeated Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, a former world champion at 168 lbs with five world title defenses, who left his promoter Top Rank recently and signed with Golden Boy Promotions, will debut with the entity as his new promoter, fighting a veteran tough guy, Sullivan Barrera. Barrera, who has had a see-saw like, past couple of years, facing the best in the world, and losing his last bout to Jesse Hart, a man Ramirez beat twice, will definitely be a fight that defines both fighters trajectories for the near future in the light heavyweight division.
“The road to this fight has been exciting. I am happy to be working with Golden Boy Promotions,” said Ramirez on Wednesday’s press conference. “I am grateful for the opportunity. I want to give a great performance and show all my skills. I’m going to give the fans what they want: good fights!”
For those unaware, Ramirez is trained and managed by the father-son duo of Jesus Zapari, and his son, Hector. Jesus, the father is the manager, while Hector is the head coach. Ramirez’s twenties came and went, and despite a solid following, and five defenses of his WBO super middleweight world title he gave up in April of 2019, when he moved to light heavyweight en route to stopping Tommy Karpency in four rounds, and served as Mexico’s first super middleweight world champion.
In July 2020, Ramirez left Top Rank Inc, as his contract was not renewed. Ramirez promoted one fight with Zurdo Promotions, in Galveston, Texas of last year, with heavyweight Michael Hunter being featured on the card. The card was on Fite.TV, and was seen only by the most hardcore of hardcore boxing fans, as Ramirez got a tenth-round KO over Alfonso Lopez.
Ramirez with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions behind him, will now look to embrace the Los Angeles market, in which Golden Boy Promotions has a stronghold over, with his first fight being no pushover, as it is Sullivan Barrera.
“I’m also very excited to be fighting here at Banc of California Stadium. I can’t wait to see all the people here, who are finally back to these kinds of events,” said Ramirez. “There will be a lot of Mexicans and Latinos coming here to support me, so I can’t wait to give them a great show.”
For those unfamiliar with Barrera, who holds wins over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, current WBO light heavyweight world champion Joe Smith Jr., Felix Valera, and Seanie Monaghan, Barrera is a stern test for any and all in the division, despite being 39-years-old. Conversely, Barrera’s losses though have been one-sided affairs as he lost his undefeated record to Andre Ward in Oakland, California, getting stopped in the tenth round by Dmitry Bivol, and losing to Jesse Hart, a mutual opponent of Ramirez, who Ramirez beat twice in hard-fought bouts, that some fight fans will look back upon fondly. A pessimist could look at this fight and say Barrera has been hand-selected, because he is at the end of his career, and it is Barrera’s job to prove them wrong.
“Everyone knows what I have done in this division,” said Barrera. “My experience says a lot. I have some losses, but they were against very tough fighters. My experience will be a big factor.”
Barrera doesn’t give you much info about his camp via social media as it appears he has become a fan of riding his bike and appears to have had a child beyond that. As far as a camp, I know Florida-based strength coach Phil Daru, worked with Barrera when Barrera was set to face Sergey Kovalev, prior to the bout being canceled due to COVID.
“I respect Zurdo Ramírez a lot. We have known each other for a long time,” said Barrera. “As he said, we know that each of us trains hard. We know that because we have trained together and sparred. But now is the time to put on a great show for all the fans.”
In a lot of words, I basically said, we don’t know what to expect from Barrera, other than he is tough, durable, and unconventional from the stereotype of the elusive, excessive moving associated with Cuban boxing, as Barrera is a come-forward fighter, with a solid punch.
This will be Ramirez’s third fight at 175 lbs, whereas Barrera has been a career light-heavyweight. For Ramirez beating a fighter the caliber of Barrera would prove he is worthy of being in the mix of the best in the division.
Per DraftKings, Ramirez is -1000 favorite, whereas Barrera is +525.
Joseph Diaz Jr. vs Javier Fortuna – An Interesting Fight, Co-Main Event
An interesting co-feature will see Joseph Diaz Jr., moving up yet another weight class to 135 lbs to face Javier Fortuna, a veteran puncher, who gives everyone a hard fight. Diaz Jr., a 2012 Olympian, who has as much talent as anyone in the division, is looking to put things together in the ring, as Diaz lost a world title on the scales twice, once against Jesus Rojas missing weight by a 1/2 pound as he was unable to win the WBA featherweight title, and in his last fight after defeating Tevin Farmer for the IBF super featherweight world title, Diaz lost the belt on the scales when facing Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, coming in at 133 1/2, 3-and-a-half pounds over the limit. That fight also was ruled a draw, which was off-putting to many who believe in Diaz’s talent.
Diaz Jr. is the far more talented fighter of the two, Fortuna is a tough, and explosive puncher, but that is about it. The big question with Diaz Jr is his focus, between weight issues that now seem reoccurring as well as a lawsuit between his former manager Ralph Heredia, and now advisor, MTK Global. Diaz Jr. seems focused, but we will find out at the weigh-in what is in-store.
The bout is for the WBC interim lightweight world title, that Ryan Garcia had won, but was stripped off when he took time away from the sport due to mental health-related issues, this bout could see the winner facing Garcia in the near future.
Probably the strangest occurrence is that with facial hair Diaz now looks similar to Goerge Kambosos Jnr., which is neither good nor bad, but different from essentially his whole career being a baby-faced boxer.
Per DraftKings, Joseph Diaz is -240 favorite, with Fortuna as the underdog at +175.
Kudos To Golden Boy For Giving Women’s Boxing Shine
One of my favorite fighters, Seniesa Estrada will look to be a two-division world champion, as she faces Tenkai Tsunami for the WBO light flyweight title. Estrada is one of the must-see-stars in boxing, in my opinion, and won her first world title in her last fight, in the minimum weight division, against Anabel Ortiz. Estrada is a generational talent, who is hard to not enjoy her handiwork in the ring.
Sulem Urbina, a great ambassador of the sport, fights on the undercard as well as Urbina, will look to win her first world title as she faces Naoko Fujioka for the WBA flyweight world title. If Urbina can win this fight, a bout between her and Estrada would be an interesting affair in the near future. Urbina’s last fight was a loss to Marlen Esparza. Urbina will be the last fight on the social media platforms of DAZN before the main event telecast
Undercard Bouts To Watch – 12:45 PM PST
Though Urbina will be headlining the social media portion of this card, the undercard will begin on Friday, at 12:45 PM PST, notable bouts to watch are, the return of super featherweight Lamont Roach Jr. taking on Daniel “Bad Boy” Rosas, undefeated lightweight Miguel “Caveman” Contreras of Bakersfield, Ca, will face undefeated Sparkinson Wilson Castillo in a career trajectory fight, and featherweight James Wilkins taking on Bryan Chevalier in a bout that could steal the show.
McGregor Returns on The UFC
ESPN and ESPN+ PPV, 4 PM PST (undercard), 7 PM PST (PPV), T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Even if you don’t like MMA, or some say, UFC, Conor McGregor is worth a watch regardless. McGregor has transcended pop culture, and become a cultural icon as well as an uber-millionaire. McGregor, who was knocked out by Dustin Poirier, in his last fight, which was a rematch of a fight from year’s prior in which McGregor brutally KO’ed Poirier.
The two will now have a trilogy, the first trilogy of either man’s career, and the biggest UFC fight of the summer. Win or lose, McGregor can fight, and be in big fights, but if McGregor wants to stay atop of the sport, he needs to beat Dustin Poirier.
For Dustin Poirier, a fighter who obtained notable wins at 22-years-old in the UFC, he has spent most of his adult life with the UFC, and at age 31, Poirier is nearing what has eluded him – a world title shot. If Poirier can beat McGregor again, a fight between himself, and Charles Oliveira, a great fighter, but not the biggest draw the sport has ever seen could be inevitable for the fall of 2021.
A Few UFC Fights To Look At…
On the PPV, big puncher Gilbert Burns faces Stephen Thompson, the two are skilled at striking with Burns being an aggressive power-puncher, and “Wonderboy” Thompson being an elusive methodical fighter, using the MMA version of a Cuban-style boxer, who never converted fully to the pros. The bout should merit a future title contender.
Publicly shamed ex-NFL player, Greg Hardy, has transitioned to the UFC, and had more success than failure considering how he is learning on the job. Hardy is facing fellow heavyweight Tai Tuivasa, who is best known as the guy who drank beer out of his shoe. Both guys have flaws, so this could be entertaining for the fans, as both will have to dog out a victory, as I don’t see either making it easy on themselves.
The opening PPV bout will see Sean O’Malley, a brash, flashy featherweight, who once was suspended for smoking weed, and has a podcast, where he says outlandish stuff. O’Malley is the type of personality MMA fans are drawn to and love, and if he can get a highlight-reel KO, on the biggest card of the year, that would further push O’Malley towards the top of the division.
Sacramento, Ca’s Max Griffin will face former UFC superstar Carlos Condit, as the last fight available on ESPN, before the telecast goes to PPV. For Griffin, this will be a great chance to get a marquee win over one of the stars of the sport, when MMA saw tremendous growth, as Condit is now 37-years-old, and not the same guy who dropped Georges St Pierre with a head kick.
Jessica Eye will face Jennifer Maia in a battle of two exciting fighters in the 125 lbs women’s division, a division void of contenders outside of world champion, Valentina Shevchenko.
Lyndon Arthur vs Davide Faraci, Saturday on ESPN+
Saturday, July 10th, 11 AM PST, ESPN+, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London.
Taking place in the U.K., big puncher Lyndon Arthur, a British light-heavyweight with a marquee win over Anthony Yarde via a split decision will look to make the first defense of his WBO Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight Title against undefeated Davide Faraci, an Italian fighter who has beaten three undefeated fighters. The fight will be on in the afternoon on the west coast and early evening on the east coast.
These are the fights traditionally U.K. fighters have shaky success with as well-traveled fighters, who have gotten wins on the road, tend to be a bit much for the generally easy road, that is the development of the U.K. fighters.
Arthur, who has found inspiration in stablemate Sunny Edwards winning his world title, just seems too talented to lose this fight. The oddsmakers agree as DraftKings has him as a -3335 favorite.
Anthony Yarde is on the undercard, and with a win, we could see a rematch between himself and Lyndon Arthur in the future. Archie Sharp, a domestic level super featherweight with a high-world ranking is getting close to a world title shot, and will be in action, and highly touted, super featherweight Dennis “The Menace” McCann round out the card. Sharp vs McCann would be a good future fight. McCann feels like a world-level guy to me.
Super Welterweight Tursynbay Kulakhmet Fights On ESPN+, Fast-Tracked To Title
Saturday, July 10th, 7:00 AM PST, ESPN+, Baluan Sholak Sports Palace, Almaty, Kazakhstan
A lot of people believe in 154 lbs contender Tursynbay Kulakhmet, despite that this will be his fourth professional fight, and already his third ten-round bout. Kulakhmet has the backing of MTK Global, and coach Jamie Moore in his corner as well, who is the coach of Chantelle Cameron, a fighter I am quite impressed with. Kulakhmet will see a similar path as Israil Madrimov, a fighter who burst onto the scene fighting the best opposition possible seemingly in his professional infancy.
Kulakhmet can not be compared to Madirmov in terms of anything other than his development in a business sense, as he hasn’t faced anyone close to who Madirmov has, and his upcoming bout, should serve as a highlight-reel KO in his hometown, but belief is high in this fighter, as Jamie Moore has stated that want him to fight for a world title after seven fights.
Kulakhmet was ranked at #3 in AIBA world rankings as one of the top light heavyweights in amateur boxing in 2020, and that was without competing in the European Games and the Pan-Am Games.
Former World Champ Sam Soliman Returns
July 10th, 1:00 AM PST, Fite TV PPV, Melbourne Pavilion, Kensington, Australia,
The former world champion, who in his prime resembled both a great boxer and an octopus in terms of his ability to score points and negate action, Soliman, who is now 47-years-old returns against 3-0 prospect, Victor “Hot Chilli” Nagbe. This fight will not be televised in America, and not written about much, but is noteworthy, as Soliman in his prime was a great fighter, and it is unfortunate he feels the need to continue his career, so late into life.