LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (August 21, 2023) – Former World Champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) will make his grand debut in the cruiserweight division and measure up against former light heavyweight World Champion Joe “Common Man” Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) of Long Island, New York on Saturday, October 7. The 12-round clash, presented in association with Star Boxing, will take place live from The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and live around the world on DAZN.
The former WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will be looking to make a statement and demonstrate he has the bravado to become a two-division titleholder. With nearly 15-years of professional experience, he embarked on a career that would see him defeating the likes of Maxim Vlasov, Jessie “Hard Work” Hart and “King” Arthur Abraham, whom he defeated to become the WBO Super Middleweight World Champion. His sole blemish on his record comes from a valiant performance against Dmitrii Bivol last November 2022. Ramirez is now ready to return to the ring and contend against the heavy hitters of the division.
“I am ready to take over the cruiserweight division and prove to myself that I can add another championship belt to my resume,” said Gilberto Ramirez. “I want to thank all of my fans, Golden Boy, DAZN, the WBA, and my entire team that have supported me through this season of change. We are ready to face a hungry opponent in Joe Smith Jr. who is used to being an underdog. I know both of us wanted this fight at light heavyweight a few years back, but I’m glad we can make it now. See you all in Las Vegas!”
The iron-willed, former light heavyweight World Champion Joe Smith Jr. is known to prove his critics wrong, becoming the WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion after giving an unyielding boxing performance when he fought Maxim Vlasov in April 2021. He went on to successfully defend his title against Steve Geffrard in January 2022 and then succumbed to Artur Beterbiev in a massive unification fight on June 18. In addition, Smith has one of the best resumes in boxing that includes victories over former undisputed champion and boxing legend, Bernard Hopkins, former world champion, Eleider Alvarez, and title contenders Jessie Hart and Andrzej Fonfara. Having begun his career in 2009, he has earned the respect of the “common man” and will also be going up to cruiserweight for the first time to face Ramirez.
“It feels great to return to the ring in a big way on October 7 against ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez,” said Joe Smith Jr. “I was having a rough time this year, then we tragically lost my brother Alex on top of it all. I miss him and know he will be with me when I step into that ring. He was always proud of me and he would be happy to see me back. I can’t wait to show the world the Common Man is back and hope my performance can bring some happiness and inspiration back to my family.”
“‘For almost 15 years, ‘Zurdo’ beat everyone who stepped into the ring, becoming a world champion and the most feared man in the Super Middleweight division in the process,” said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya. “But coming off a loss and with a new weight division to conquer, there is a renewed fire in Zurdo’s eyes. I expect an impressive outing and a first step towards a cruiserweight world championship.”
“We are thrilled to announce the return of Star Boxing’s ‘Common Man,’ Joe Smith Jr. at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas live on DAZN,” said Star Boxing’s CEO Joe DeGuardia. “He and his family have had a rough year, but in quintessential Joe Smith fashion, while there were many fights out there for him, he wanted the biggest and toughest challenge available. It will once again be Champion vs Champion as two former world champs go head to head in this intriguing fight. This has all the makings of must see action and I personally look forward to watching Joe back in the ring on October 7th.”
«What an exciting fight this will be between two former World Champions,” said Joseph Markowski, CEO North America, DAZN Group. “Zurdo wanted a tough test, and this one-his first at cruiserweight-vs Smith Jr. is going to be a very difficult fight for him. You will not want to miss it! Tune in October 7th live from the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, broadcast only on DAZN.”