Valley Hero Jose Ramirez Dominates in First World Title Defense


Photo by: Larry Valenzuela

World champion Jose Ramirez connects on a devastating left hook to Antonio Orozco at the Save Mart Center on Friday, Sept. 14.

Story By: Anthony De Leon, Sports Editor

Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) was on boxing’s brightest stage once again as the pride of the Central Valley successfully defended his WBC junior welterweight world title against challenger Antonio Orozco (27-0, 17 KOs) in front of a ruckus crowd Friday night.

Months after Ramirez’s scheduled bout against Danny O’Conner was canceled back in July, 11, 102 of the Fresno faithful were able to see Ramirez fight once again as he and Orozco had a championship bout for the ages on ESPN.

Ramirez was able to come out the victor as all three judges scored the fight (119-107 3X) in favor of Ramirez giving him the unanimous decision. This was his first title defense after winning the vacant junior welterweight title against Amir Imam back on March 17 at Madison Square Garden.

From the onset the crowd made it known who the favorite was as Orozco entered the ring to a barrage of boos raining over him with chants of “Jose! Jose! Jose!” filling the arena all the way up until the local hero Ramirez entered the ring.

Right out of the gate both fighters traded blows, serving each other heavy shots in the first as Orozco countered everything Ramirez threw at him.

This pace was sustained for the first four rounds as Orozco showed he was not about to back down, even when Ramirez laid into him with multiple hooks while on the ropes.

Ramirez showed his assertiveness with a flurry of punch in the fourth and stayed on the offensive through that round connecting throughout.

In the fourth the crowd exploded with a deafening roar as Ramirez connected with a devastating right hand on Orozco sending him tumbling to the mat at the 1:12 mark. As Orozco got back up Ramirez continued to stay on the offensive.

Both men delivered a bevy of punches throughout as according to CompuBox Orozco and Ramirez combined for a fight total of 1,818 punches. Ramirez connected on 37 percent of his punches as Orozco connected on 34 percent.

In his post-fight interview Ramirez stated, “This was an excellent fight, and Antonio Orozco is a true warrior, we put it out there and Antonio was a very tough opponent.”

The next few rounds were all Ramirez’s as his left hook was working for him throughout the bout and he showed off his superior conditioning looking spruce.

Ramirez’s training came into question beforehand as this was his first fight after leaving the supervision of legendary trainer Freddie Roach and hiring elite trainer Robert Garcia.

Ramirez scored his second knockdown of the fight in the eighth after working the body and knocking Orozco down with a shot to the liver from a vicious left hook. After Orozco got back Ramirez continued his onslaught showing no mercy to finish the round.

In the last three rounds the fight Orozco began to close the gap on Ramirez as he started to go on the offensive causing Ramirez to eat multiply punches from Orozco including a couple of combos throughout as Ramirez let his guard down.

Orozco’s face began to show wear as blood ran down his face causing the ring doctor to check on him as the cut he received in the sixth above his right eye began to open up more. Later on in the fight a cut above his left eye also began to leak out.

But Orozco showed resolve and fortitude as did Ramirez with both fighters continuing to trade blows back and forth until the final bell.

Ramirez had nothing but love after the fight for those who attend the event in support stating, “A special thank you to all the people in Fresno who showed their support tonight.”

The undercard bouts saw former Iraq War veteran and former 2012 U.S. Olympian Jamal Herring (18-2, 10 KOs) dominate John Vincent Moralde (20-2, 10 KOs) to win the vacant USBA junior lightweight title for the biggest win of his career by 10-round unanimous decision (100-90 3X).

On his way to the ring Herring was surrounded by a tunnel of dozens of his Marine Corp Comrades.

In his post-fight interview Herring stated, “I wanted to show that I could not only make 130, but that I could be strong at the weight as well. Now, I’m much closer to a world title shot.”

18-year-old boxing prodigy Gabriel Flores Jr. (10-0, 5 KOs) saw his first big stage action as the Stockton native defeated Roger Gutierrez by unanimous decision in his ESPN debut despite a knockdown in the first round.

The score for their six-round lightweight bout were 59-54, 59-54, and 58-54 in favor of the youngest signed Top Rank fighter in history.

  • Also in action was Fresno native Isidro Ochoa (6-0, 2 KOs) knocked out opponent Elio De Jesus (2-3, 0 KOs) in the third round to remain undefeated.
  • During the sixth round fans got in involved in the action as a huge brawl in the northern section of the Save Mart Center broke out involving nearly three rows of fans donning matching white shirts and red caps.