Mexico’s very own Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) will square off against Joe Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) from Long Island, New York. What’s at stake, you ask? Oh, just a chance for a WBA Cruiserweight world championship! Tune in for a thrilling 12-round fight, brought to you by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. Place to be? The swanky Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Oh, and if you can’t be there – catch it LIVE on DAZN starting at 5:00 p.m. PT.
The co-feature for the evening? Bektemir Melikuziev (12-1, 9 KOs) is defending his WBA Intercontinental Super Middleweight Title against Alantez “SlyAza” Fox (28-4-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round brawl. Get this – “The Bully”, hailing from Uzbekistan, is also waving the flag for Indio, California. Talk about a double threat!
The DAZN card also brings you Darius “DFG” Fulghum, who’s on fire with a 7-0 record (all KOs, by the way), facing Alan Campa from Guaymas, Mexico, for an eight-rounder in the light heavyweight division. And if you think that’s cool, Fort Lauderdale’s Eric Tudor is set to throw down with Jose Sanchez of Albuquerque in an eight-round super welterweight bout.
BTristan “Sweet T” Kalkreuth is locking horns with Aaron “Ghozt Mas” Casper. And fresh off a knockout win earlier this month, Daniel “Ikaika” Luna is all geared up to duel with Erick Benitez from Guadalajara.
The prelim action doesn’t stop there. Star Boxing’s very own Jahyae “Golden Child” Brown is stepping into the ring with Youngstown’s Victor Toney. Plus, undefeated Rajon “Picasso” Chance from New Jersey will take on Orlando Perez Zapata, the undefeated featherweight from the Dominican Republic.
Bit of housekeeping: The earlier announced WBA Super Flyweight Final Eliminator fight between John “Scrappy” Ramirez and Ronal Batista has been shifted to the Rocha vs. Santillan card on October 21.
Ramirez, a former WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, has something to prove. With a desire to make his mark and show the world that he’s got the guts to conquer another division, he has a reputation founded on nearly 15 years in the professional ring. In his illustrious career, he has triumphed over well-known fighters like Maxim Vlasov, Jessie “Hard Work” Hart, and “King” Arthur Abraham, the latter securing his WBO Super Middleweight title. However, a recent loss to Dmitrii Bivol in November 2022 hasn’t dampened his spirits. Ramirez is primed and ready to take on the big names in the division.
Expressing his ambition, Ramirez shared, “The cruiserweight division awaits my takeover, and I stand on the brink of self-discovery, eager to clinch yet another championship belt to adorn my career. A heartfelt thanks is in order to those who have backed me – my fans, Golden Boy, DAZN, the WBA, and the steadfast team that has been my support system throughout this transformative period. As we prepare to confront Joe Smith Jr., a contender known for thriving in the underdog role, anticipation builds. Though our desired clash at light heavyweight eluded us in the past, the time has come to make it happen. Las Vegas, I eagerly look forward to meeting you all there!”
On the other side of the ring, Joe Smith Jr. is known for his iron determination. As a former WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion, his performance against Maxim Vlasov in April 2021 was remarkable, followed by a successful title defense against Steve Geffrard in January 2022. Despite a loss to Artur Beterbiev in a massive unification fight on June 18, Smith has an enviable resume, featuring wins over Bernard Hopkins, Eleider Alvarez, Jessie Hart, and Andrzej Fonfara. This will be Smith’s debut in the cruiserweight division, and he’s ready to face Ramirez.
Expressing excitement about his return, Smith said, “”Mark the date, October 7, for it’s the day I make my triumphant return to the ring, facing off against ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. This year has been a journey, overshadowed by the heartbreaking loss of my brother Alex, whose absence I keenly feel. Yet, I know his spirit will be with me, cheering me on as I step into that ring, just as he was always my proudest supporter. His joy in seeing me back would be palpable, and I’m eager to demonstrate that the Common Man hasn’t lost his touch. It’s my hope that my performance will not only resonate with the audience but also serve as a beacon of joy and inspiration for my family in these trying times.”
The fight is also receiving support from big names in the promotion industry. Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman, and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, commented on Ramirez’s return, saying,
“‘Zurdo,’ a name synonymous with triumph for nearly a decade and a half, reigned as the world champion, instilling fear in the Super Middleweight division and vanquishing all challengers. Now, however, a fresh challenge beckons. Having faced defeat and eyeing a new weight division, Zurdo appears revitalized, his eyes ablaze with a rekindled determination. The path towards the cruiserweight world championship begins here, and I anticipate nothing short of a spectacular performance, a declaration that a champion’s spirit still burns bright within him.”
GILBERTO “ZURDO” RAMIREZ, FORMER WORLD CHAMPION: “I’m grateful to everyone for showing up. I give thanks to God for this blessing. Gratitude to Golden Boy and Joe Smith for accepting the fight. My last fight in Las Vegas was at the Cosmopolitan. I aim to relive that moment, raising my hand in triumph.”
JOE SMITH JR., FORMER WORLD CHAMPION: “As I mentioned, it’s great to return. Big thanks to Golden Boy Promotions and Star Boxing for the chance. I appreciate Zurdo for this moment. This Saturday, I intend to leave a lasting impression.”
BEKTEMIR MELIKUZIEV, WBA INTERCONTINENTAL SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER: “It feels excellent to be back, competing on a great card with a strong opponent. Gratitude to Golden Boy and my team for orchestrating this. Trust me, you’ll want to see every moment of our fight.”
ALANTEZ FOX, SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT FIGHTER: “I’m forever grateful to God for His blessings. Thanks to all my supporters from everywhere. Also, kudos to Golden Boy Promotions for this chance. Eagerly waiting for Saturday – it’s my time.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF GOLDEN BOY: “A hearty welcome from my new base in Las Vegas! Thrilled to present this wonderful card, which is a testament to collaborating with diverse promoters.”
“With a former world champion like Ramirez and a legend like Joe Smith Jr. — who’s faced legends like Bernard Hopkins and others — we’re set for an important fight.”
“Overall, we’re introducing some great new talent, making the event a must-watch.”
BERNARD HOPKINS, PARTNER OF GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS: “As 2023 draws to a close and 2024 looms, we’re at a significant peak. Our two respectable fighters are all set to give the audience a memorable experience.”
JOE DE GUARDIA, FOUNDER AND CEO OF STAR BOXING: “Being present for a fight of this magnitude is truly special. We have two former champions ready to give their all. Both are rising to the occasion, embracing this genuine test.”
Zurdo vs. Smith Fight Details and Streaming Info
Date and Start Time:
Saturday, October 7
Starts at: 8 p.m. ET / 1 a.m. UK
Main event (approximate): 11 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. UK
The evening’s proceedings are set to kick off at 8 p.m. ET / 1 a.m. UK. The main event is scheduled around 11 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. UK, although this is subject to the durations of the undercard bouts.
The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez
- Nationality: Mexican
- Birthdate: June 19, 1991
- Height: 6′ 2″
- Reach: 75″
- Fight Count: 45
- Record: 44 wins, 1 loss (30 KOs)
Joe Smith Jr.
- Nationality: American
- Birthdate: September 20, 1989
- Height: 6′ 0″
- Reach: 76″
- Fight Count: 32
- Record: 28 wins, 4 losses (22 KOs)
Complete Fight Card:
- Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez vs. Joe Smith Jr. – Cruiserweight division
- Bektemir Melikuziev vs. Alantez Fox – Super middleweight division
- Tristan Kalkreuth vs. TBA – Cruiserweight division
- Eric Tudor vs. Jose Luis Sanchez – Light middleweight division
- Daniel Luna vs. TBA – Super lightweight division
- Jahyae Brown vs. Victor Toney – Light middleweight division
- Rajon Chance vs. Orlando Perez Zapata – Featherweight division.