Jose Ramirez didn’t want the hometown fans to leave unhappy.
In front of a crowd of 11,102 at the Save Mart Center on Friday evening, Avenal native Ramirez retained the WBC super lightweight world title with a unanimous decision against fellow unbeaten Antonio Orozco. The scores were 119-107 across the board.
Ramirez (23-0, 16 KOs) knocked Orozco down with a crisp right hand in the fourth round and found success with his left hook throughout the bout. In the eighth round, Ramirez scored a knockdown with a left hook to the liver and nearly finished Orozco at the end of the round.
“This was an excellent fight, and Antonio Orozco is a true warrior,” Ramirez said. “We put it out there, and Antonio was a very tough opponent who gave it his all. A special thanks to all the people in Fresno who showed their support tonight.”
Ramirez won the belt with a hard-fought unanimous decision against Amir Imam back in March. For his first title defense, he took on a previously undefeated challenger in Orozco (27-1, 17 KOs), who on paper represented the toughest test of his career. Ramirez and Orozco went toe-to-toe and produced a championship bout for the ages.
Flanked by his Marine comrades on his way to the ring, 2012 U.S. Olympian and Marine Corps veteran Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (18-2, 10 KOs ) notched the most significant win of his carer, defeating John Vincent Moralde (20-2, 10 KOs) by 10-round unanimous decision (100-90 3X) to win the vacant USBA junior lightweight title.
“I wanted to show that I could not only make 130 pounds, but that I could be strong at the weight as well,” Herring said. “Now, I’m that much closer to a world title shot.”
In his biggest test to date, 18-year-old sensation Gabriel Flores Jr. (10-0, 5 KOs) was undeterred by the big stage and the bright lights. Flores, from Stockton, Calif., survived a first-round knockdown to defeat Roger Gutierrez by unanimous decision in a six-round lightweight bout.
The scores were as followed: 59-54, 59-54, and 58-54.
“I could’ve done better, but I was in there against a tough guy. There’s no explanation for it, but my legs locked up in the early rounds. I started moving in the last rounds, and my legs were feeling better. But I boxed him and got the victory. All I can do from here is learn from this experience.
“I came back strong. I know l will be better next time out.”
Vacant USBA Welterweight Title: Alexander Besputin (11-0, 9 KOs), TKO 9, 1:44, Alan Sanchez (20-4-1, 10 KOs).
Super Lightweights: Hiroki Okada (19-0, 13 KOs), split decision, 10 rounds, Cristian Cora (27-7-2, 11 KOs). Scores: 95-94 Okada, 95-94 Coria, 95-94 Okada.
* Okada knocked down in the 10th round by Coria right hand.
Lightweights: Bryan Vasquez (38-3, 20 KOs), unanimous decision, 10 rounds, Carlos Cardenas (21-15-1, 13 KOs). Scores: 98-92, 96-94, 96-94 .
Vasquez said: “I feel very grateful to be signed by Top Rank, the best promotional company in the world. I now want all of the big names at 135, including the winner of Lomachenko and Pedraza.”
Featherweights: Isidro Ochoa (6-0, 2 KOs), KO 3, 2:14, Elio De Jesus (2-3, 0 KOs).
Super Bantamweights: Santos Ortega (3-0, 1 KO), unanimous decision, 4 rounds, Sebastian Baltazar (1-2, 0 KOs). Scores: 40-36, 40-36, 40-36.