By Miguel Rivera
World Boxing Organization super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez will make his first championship defense on April 22 in California, according to the information that Top Rank’s Bob Arum disclosed to Mexican promoter Jesus Zapari.
Based on the information given to Zapari, the opponent of ‘Zurdo’ will be Ukrainian contender Max Bursak, who has a record of 33-4-1 and 15 knockouts. In addition, the European is 32 years old and he’s lost fights to top opponents like Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Zac Dunn and Martín Murray.
Zápari, who along with promoter Arum leads the career of Ramirez, was advised of the details on Monday and told that his boxer would fight in Los Angeles, California.
Zapari was under the impression that Ramirez would join the undercard of WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, who is also fighting on that day – and the Filipino star’s return will happen in either Australia or the United Arab Emirates. But Ramirez will appear on a separate presentation in California.
“The date Arum gave us was April 22nd in California against the Ukrainian. At the beginning we thought there was a chance of having a role in Pacquiao’s undercard, but they have not decided on that, so what we have been told is that he’s goes to fight Bursak in California, which is good because we wanted to stage a fight in this area,” Zápari said to ESPN Deportes.
Ramirez became the first Mexican fighter to win a world super middleweight championship (168 pounds) last April, after he dethroned the dangerous German veteran Arthur Abraham in Las Vegas. However, he could not fight for the rest of 2016 due to an injury to the knuckle of his right hand.
The first defense was scheduled for July 23, but after the injury he withdrew from that opportunity. He was forced to undergo surgery, which left him on the shelf for the rest of the year.