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Gilberto Ramirez outworks, outpoints Arsen Goulamirian, wins WBA cruiserweight title


Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez celebrates after winning the WBA cruiserweight title at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Gilberto Ramirez made boxing history by lifting the WBA cruiserweight title from the bruising Arsen Goulamirian with a hard-fought unanimous decision on Saturday at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.

The former super middleweight beltholder became the first Mexican to win a major world title at cruiserweight (weight limit of 200 pounds), turning in the best performance of his 15-year career. However, despite winning by unanimous scores of 118-110, it was a competitive and entertaining fight that featured lots of back and forth action. 

Goulamirian (27-1, 18 KOs), a France-based Armenian brawler who trains in Southern California, applied hard pressure throughout the fight but while he landed neck-twisting hooks and crosses, he learned that Ramirez could take his power and fire back in much greater volume.

Ramirez (46-1, 30 KOs), a 32-year-old southpaw from Mazatlan who also trains in Southern California, did more than outwork Goulamirian in every round, he often controlled the pace and distance with lateral movement and a busy jab, while landing head-snapping uppercuts wherever he stood his ground.  

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (R) lands a right hook against Arsen Goulamirian. (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Beyond his sheer offensive volume, Ramirez exhibited the far superior punch selection. He mixed every conceivable power punch with his jab and was creative with his combinations. Ramirez had a punch and a combo for each distance – outside (jabs and straight lefts), mid-range (hooks, crosses and body shots) and in close (uppercuts from both hands), and he knew when to stick-and-move and when to stand his ground.

The 36-year-old defending titleholder mainly relied on crosses (which landed with frightening authority), hooks and occasional body shots. Goulamirian, The Ring’s No. 6-rated crusierweight, had his moments but could not seriously hurt Ramirez (rated No. 10) or keep him cornered or along the ropes. 

Arsen Goulamirian momentarily pressed Gilberto Ramirez against the ropes. (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

The cruiserweights fought at a middleweight pace, which delighted the crowd (who loudly chanted the fighters’ nicknames – “Zurdo” for Ramirez, “Feroz” for Goulamirian during the late rounds) – and ultimately favored the former super middleweight. Goulamirian, who trains with respected veteran trainer Abel Sanchez, may have been hampered with ring rust, having not fought since November 2022 prior to Saturday’s showdown. 

However, the muscular pressure fighter found his groove in Rounds 10 and 11, teeing off on a seemingly fading Ramirez with brutal power shots to the head and body. But the “Zurdo” proved to be just as tough as he is savvy.

Zurdo Ramirez celebrates making Mexican boxing history with one of his children. (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

On the undercard:

Alexis Rocha (24-2, 16 KOs), The Ring’s No. 8-rated welterweight, walked down and punished game Ghanaian veteran Frederick Lawson (30-5, 22 KOs) to a technical stoppage after seven rounds.

It was the 26-year-old southpaw’s first fight since suffering a sixth-round KO loss to Giovanni Santillan last October and the victory did not come easy. Lawson, who had a chip on his shoulder after being prematurely stopped in the first round against Vergil Ortiz in January, employed an effective stick-and-move strategy against the aggressive Santa Ana, California native. 

Rocha pressed Lawson the entire fight, loading up with his powerful left. However, Lawson absorbed the shots and fired back with his jab and counter right hands that disrupted Rocha’s rhythm and bloodied his nose. 

However, the pressure and power eventually wore down Lawson, who was dropped into the ropes in Round 6, prompting referee Ray Corona to rule it a technical knockdown and issue a mandatory eight count.

Alexis Rocha connects with a massive shot vs. Fredrick Lawson. (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Lawson got back on the move, punching back on even terms for the rest of the round, but Rocha landed the much harder shots. By the end of Round 7, Lawson was at the mercy of Rocha, who pounded him along the ropes until the bell. Lawson’s corner did the ring thing by waving the bout off before the start of Round 8.  

Ricardo Sandoval (24-2, 16 KOs), The Ring’s No. 8-rated flyweight, halted rugged Nicaraguan veteran Carlos Buitrago (38-13-1, 22 KOs) at the end of the eighth round of a scheduled 10-round bout. Referee Gerard White stopped the on the advice of the ringside physician after Sandoval, a 25-year-old boxer-puncher from Rialto, California, had put a sustained beating on the game 32-year-old former title challenger.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, as Buitrago was able to rock Sandoval with a right hand in Round 3, but Sandoval’s pressure and greater activity eventually took its toll. 

Ring-rated flyweight Ricardo Sandoval nails veteran Carlos Buitrago. (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Unbeaten welterweight fringe contender Santiago Dominguez (27-0, 20 KOs), of Ft. Worth Texas by way of Sonora, Mexico, pounded out a 10-round split decision over Jose Sanchez (14-4-1, 4 KOs), of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Scores were 97-93 and 96-94 for the pressure-fighting Dominguez and 97-93 for the stick-and-moving Sanchez. 

Highly touted former amateur champion Joel Iriarte (2-0, 2 KOs) won his second pro bout with a punishing opening-round stoppage of Kevin Aguirre (5-3, 2 KOs), of Guerrero, Mexico. 

Tough gatekeeper Rowdy Montgomery (11-5-1, 7 KOs) scored the most significant victory of his career with a third-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Canadian light heavyweight Kareem Hackett (12-1, 6 KOs). Montgomery, a 37-year-old latecomer from Victorville, California, earned the WBA intercontinental belt with his latest upset. 

Ronaldo Mancilla (1-0, 1 KO) won his pro debut with an opening round stoppage of journeyman Rueben Johnson (0-6). Mancilla, a super middleweight/light heavyweight from Big Bear, California, ended the fight with a single left hook.

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