It was one of the best fights of 2017. WBO super middleweight world champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez had Jesse “Hollywood” Hart down and nearly out in the second round, only for Hart to come back with a furious late-rounds rally. Ramirez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decision that September evening in Tucson, Ariz., but Hart, the Philadelphia native with the legendary last name, had rematch on his mind immediately after the decision was rendered.

His wish has finally come true.

Ramirez will make the fifth defense of his world title against Hart, Friday, Dec. 14 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ramirez-Hart 2 and a soon-to-be announced co-feature will stream live and exclusively at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ in the United States— the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramirez-Hart 2 world championship event will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $100, $65, $45, and $30, tickets may be purchased online at, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

“This will be a good fight. I feel better prepared than the first time and even more convinced that I will finish him,” Ramirez said. “I’ve always said that I wanted to be the king of the division. I’ve been waiting for unification fights, and I’m still patient. I’m at my best, and against Hart, I want to show why I’m the best.”

“I’m very grateful and humbled for this opportunity,” Hart said. “I just want to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. I have nothing derogatory to say about Gilberto Ramirez. At this point, I just want to go out there and perform.”

Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs), the first Mexican-born super middleweight champion, will be defending the title he won from Arthur Abraham via shutout decision on April 9, 2016. A hand injury put Ramirez on the shelf until April 22, 2017, but he didn’t miss a beat, dominating Max Bursak en route to a unanimous decision victory. In his most recent outing, June 30 in Oklahoma City, Ramirez used his boxing skills to win a unanimous decision against Alexis Angulo. Ramirez, from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a nine-year pro who is no stranger to Corpus Christi. He headlined a show at the American Bank Center on Feb. 3, knocking out the previously unbeaten Habib Ahmed in the sixth round to retain his title.

Hart (25-1, 21 KOs), the WBO No. 1 contender, is a former amateur standout, winning the 2011 National Golden Gloves and U.S. National championships at 165 pounds. A 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate, Hart turned pro in 2012 and won his first 22 bouts prior to challenging Ramirez. Hart last fought as the ESPN co-feature Aug. 18 in Atlantic City, battering Mike Gavronski en route to a third-round stoppage. After more than a year of calling out Ramirez for a return match, Hart has his shot at redemption. A proud native of Philadelphia, Hart is the son of Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a feared middleweight contender in the 1970s who never received a world title shot. With Eugene Hart in his corner as head trainer, Jesse Hart will seek to bring a world title home to the City of Brotherly Love.


By Chris Robinson

This past Wednesday, in Corpus Christi, Tex., trainer Robert Garcia was able to cross paths and spend considerable time with one of his star fighters, multi-division champion Nonito Donaire, for the first time in several months.

Donaire was in the city for a Top Rank press conference to announce an HBO-televised tripleheader featuring his rematch with Vic Darchinyan, a junior lightweight title match between WBO champion Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez and Mikey Garcia, and a clash for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title between contenders Demetrius Andrade and Vanes Martirosyan.

Donaire is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Cuban stalwart Guillermo Rigondeaux this past April. Following the defeat, Donaire had a successful surgery on his right shoulder and also celebrated the birth of his first child with his wife Rachel as they welcomed their son Jarel into the world in July.

Following a late-night training session with Donaire on Wednesday evening, Garcia was able to tell just how focused the Fil-Am star has been.

“We worked together a little bit,” Garcia noted. “Believe me, right now Nonito is probably better than ever. I had never seen him like this with two months before his fight. He’s about, I would say, no more than seven or eight pounds from the division where he’s going to fight. I had never seen that. He’s motivated, he’s dedicated. And when we worked out, man he’s so fast and strong.”

Heading into the rematch with Darchinyan, who Donaire stopped in five rounds in July of 2007 in one of the year’s biggest upsets, Garcia is looking to make sure his fighter stays light on his feet.

“The thing I told him is ‘When you go back home, I want you to work a lot on your footwork. Because that’s going to be very important not just for this fight, but for your future fights. I want you to have great legs and great footwork.’ Believe me, people will see a difference, especially when we start working together.

“People will see the best Nonito they’ve ever seen,” Garcia stated adamantly.

Garcia explained that Donaire went back to Las Vegas late Friday and he will be coming to his personal facility in Oxnard to dive into a full training camp very shortly.

“Starting next week, we’re going to start working together,” said Garcia. “He’s going to come to Oxnard. I’m telling you, he’s already prepared and he’s already doing things that I haven’t seen. We still got seven weeks before the fight. It will be much better.”

Donaire has spent much of his previous camps training out of the Undisputed Boxing Gym in Northern California, but his preference for the facility limited his one on one time with Garcia, who has a flourishing stable of champions and prospects training in his own gym.

Garcia would often make the drive from Oxnard to Northern California to be with Donaire during the second half of the week for some camps and his time was even more limited heading into the Rigondeaux match, as he was back home helping Brandon Rios prepare for his rematch with Mike Alvarado.

Understanding what it best for his career at this point, Donaire is committed to a camp in Oxnard and despite Garcia’s bevy of fighters, the two-time Trainer of the Year expects things to go smoothly when Nonito hits town.

“Look, it’s not like he’s going to be with everybody training at the same time,” said Garcia. “I don’t know [if] other gyms do it like I do. With me, Nonito is going to have his time. With me, [Marcos] Maidana has his time. Maidana trains by himself at 10 in the morning. Brandon [Rios] trains by himself at noon. Nonito will come in at maybe three or four. That will be his own time. I’ll have that two hours just to focus on him.”–69901


El campeón junior ligero de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB), Román “Rocky” Martínez y el ex monarca pluma de la OMB, Miguel Ángel “Mikey” García se vieron las caras esta tarde cuando se oficializó su choque del 9 de noviembre en el American Bank Center de Corpus Christi, Texas, en una presentación en Top Rank en asociación con PR Best Boxing Promotions, que será transmitida a través de la telecadena HBO.

Además de Martínez y García, también se presentaron los ex campeones mundiales Nonito Donaire y Vic Darchinyan, que estarán en el turno coestelar de la velada en un choque de revancha, durante una conferencia de prensa que se efectuó en la instalación tejana.

“Quiero agradecer a Top Rank y a HBO por la oportunidad y el 9 de noviembre subiré como campeón y bajaré del ring como campeón”, dijo Martínez. “Sé que la pelea contra Mikey García es difícil, pero voy a defender mi título y a demostrar que soy el campeón y que ese título se queda conmigo y con Puerto Rico”.

En su más reciente compromiso, Martínez (27-1-2, 16 KOs) defendió su cetro el pasado mes de abril en China con una victoria sobre el entonces invicto Diego Magdaleno. El púgil boricua ganó su correa en septiembre de 2012 al derrotar por decisión a Miguel Beltrán Jr., defendiéndolo en enero de 2013 cuando empató con Juan Carlos Burgos.

Mientras, García (32-0, 27 KOs) ganó su título pluma de la OMB en enero de 2013 con una victoria por decisión técnica sobre Orlan “Siri” Salido, pero cuando iba a su primera defensa, en junio, perdió el mismo en la báscula al no dar el peso para su pelea contra el ex monarca mundial Juan Manuel “Juanma” López, a quien noqueó en cuatro asaltos.

“Agradezco a Rocky Martínez y su grupo por darme esta oportunidad, que no pienso desaprovechar”, sostuvo García, primer clasificado de la OMB en las 130 libras. “Estaré en la mejor condición el 9 de noviembre para ganar mi segundo título mundial aquí en Corpus Christi”.

En el choque coestelar, Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), ex campeón mundial en cuatro divisiones, se verá con el ex doble titular mundial Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) en combate a 10 asaltos en el peso pluma. Hace seis años, Donaire noqueó a Darchinyan y le arrebató el cetro mosca de la FIB.

En otro interesante encuentro, el armenio Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) y el estadounidense Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) se enfrentará por el título vacante junior mediano de la OMB. Martirosyan es el primer ranqueado y Andrade el segundo de la OMB en las 154 libras.