The Boxing Diary

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

"I’ll fight him in Japan, on the moon, anywhere he wants" -- John Ramirez on Kazuto Ioka

LOS ANGELES (December 12, 2023) – Back on October 21st, undefeated super flyweight John “Scrappy” Ramirez, after waiting 10-plus months to fight in a World Boxing Association (WBA) title eliminator, the pride of South Central Los Angeles destroyed his Panamanian opponent, Ronal Batista (15-3, 9 KOs), dropping him twice to close the DAZN show in the fourth and final round.

The 27-year-old Ramirez, who was ranked No. 2 (No. 1 was unrated) and matched against No. 7 Batista, automatically became the No. 1-ranked, mandatory challenger for WBA Super Flyweight World Champion Kazuto Ioka (30-2-1, 15 KOs), of Japan, who last June dethroned defending world champion Joshua Franco (116-112 twice and 115-113) in a rematch of their previous draw.

“Nothing is promised in this business, so I’m not sitting around waiting,” Ramirez said. “I continue working hard because I believe in me and my team. If this fight (vs. Ioka) isn’t happening right away, my team will get me in a good fight. I’ve got to move on. I’ll just beat the next guy and I’ll still be the mandatory contender. I’ll be even better learning, getting more experience and I can redefine my skill set. And he’s (Ioka) getting older and I’m still young.”

An electrifying fighter of Belizean and Honduran descent, rising star Ramirez has patiently waited to learn about his impending world title shot. Ioka has until one year after he won the title (June 24, 2023) to make a mandatory defense, but reports spread quickly after Ioka’s last fight that his next fight would be against Lineal and World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Flyweight World Champion Juan Francisco Estrada (44-3, 28 KOs) in a title unification match on New Year’s Eve in Ioka’s hometown of Tokyo. Negotiations stalled for the Ioka-Estrada unification showdown and collapsed. It was recently announced that Ioka will fight on New Year’s Eve in Japan for the 12th time, not against Estrada, but versus Josber Perez (20-3, 18 KOs), of Venezuela, the WBA’s No. 8 world-rated super flyweight.

Meanwhile, “Scrappy” Ramirez has stayed in top-condition training with and sparring Regis Prograis (29-2, 24 KOs) at Brickhouse Boxing Club in N. Hollywood, California. Prograis was preparing for his title defense last Saturday against Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) in San Francisco. Since his last fight “Scrappy” has also cracked The Ring magazine’s independent ratings at No. 10.

“I worked with Regis who was getting ready for his fight with Haney,” Ramirez noted. “That’s what I’ve been doing, going to different training camps when I’m free. I get more knowledge working at different training camps, learning other ways to train, working in different cultures. No vacations for me. I’ll go on to the next camp with a different fighter who has a big fight. Doing what I do keeps it fun for me and I keep learning.”

It’s Scrapp Time! Ramirez is ready, willing, and able to fight Ioka anytime the reigning champion wants, even in Tokyo, if the offered deal makes sense.

Ioka has won seven of his last eight fights (7-0-1) since his last loss on December 31, 2018 in Macau, when he lost a 12-round split decision to WBO Super Flyweight World Champion Donnie Nietes (41-1-5), which Ioka avenged in their July 13, 2022 rematch, in which Ioka took a 12-round unanimous decision in Tokyo to be crowned WBO world champion.

“I’ll fight him in Japan, on the moon…..anywhere he wants,” Ramirez added. “I AM READY NOW, it’s Scrapp Time! My time will come.”

In addition to defeating Franco and Nietes, Ioka has defeated Francisco Rodriguez, Jr. (34-4-1) and McWilliams Arroyo (17-3), respectively, by way of 12 and 10-round unanimous decisions, as well as knocking out current No. 2 WBA contender Kosei Tanaka (15-0) and Aston Palicte (25-2-1).

Having fought outside of his native Japan only three times -- Philippines, China and in Inglewood, California – it’s a safe bet that Ioka will insist on defending his title in his native Japan.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

GARCIA VS. DUARTE: Official Weights (at welterweight?)

Contrary to what was advertised, Ryan Garcia will return to the ring to face Oscar Duarte Jurado after a knockout loss against Gervonta Davis in April. The fight was officially listed at the welterweight division (advertised as a 140-pound limit fight) for 12 rounds at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday night.

So what happened with the weight?

In a press release from Golden Boy Promotions, the fight was officially listed as welterweight and it seemed at a catchweight at 143 pounds? Looked like one of them was not able to get the 140-pound limit or could be both of them. Who knows? It was not announced that there would be weight limit changes. Anyway, the show must go on and the official weights were out.

Garcia's (23-1-0, 19 KOs) official weight was 143 lbs. He was looking strong and ready to go.

Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) weighed 142.8 lbs and was looking ripped and ready to rumble.

The drama behind this weight confusion will definitely surface after the fight. 

Well, fight fans have a good Saturday night. Enjoy.