At the age of 26, Jose is a six-year pro. The WBC super lightweight world champion, he won the title in March, 2018, and had made one successful title defense. He was an elite amateur before his debut – Jose represented the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games and was considered by many to be the top talent on the U.S. Olympic team. He also competed in the 2011 World Championships and won several U.S. national amateur championships.
He is one of boxing’s rising young stars,
Since turning pro, Jose stayed active in the ring and has given consistently impressive performances.
In his last fight on September 14 in Fresno, California, he made his first defense of the WBC title with a 12-round unanimous decision win against previously undefeated Antonio Orozco.
ESPN.com’s Nigel Collins reported [excerpts]: Local hero Jose Ramirez defended his junior welterweight title via unanimous 12-round decision in a sensational fight with Antonio Orozco that featured sizzling two-way action in every round.
The roaring crowds inside Save Mark Arena in Fresno, California, and ESPN’s TV audience were treated to one of the best fights of the year, as both men put everything they had on the line from the first bell to the last.
Ramirez, from nearby Avenal, won by scores of 119-107 on all three judges’ scorecards. He was making the first defense of a junior welterweight title he won from Amir Imam on March 17 at Madison Square Garden.
Ramirez was scheduled to make a homecoming defense against Danny O’Connor in July, but O’Connor was forced to withdraw 24 hours before the fight when he was hospitalized, suffering from dehydration and kidney problems incurred while trying to make the division’s 140-pound limit.
The wait was well worth it. Ramirez and Orozco wasted no time slugging it out. They set a dizzying pace in the opening round and seldom slowed down.
Ramirez’s jab, combination punching and body shots were the keys to his victory. Orozco battled back with left hooks to the head and body, but despite his punch output, he couldn’t turn the fight in his favor.
Many of the rounds were close, as both fighters hammered away at each other with reckless abandon. But Ramirez’s hand speed and slightly harder punches allowed him to edge most rounds.
Still, every time Ramirez seemed on the verge of scoring a knockout, Orozco, of Stockton, rallied back to stay in the fight.
A toe-to-toe exchange in the fourth round resulted in a knockdown when Ramirez countered a combination from Orozco with a right to the jaw that dropped his adversary for a nine count.
Orozco did some of his best work in the sixth when he connected with a series of rights to the head. He also did well in the seventh when he moved laterally and tagged Ramirez with a number of hard jabs.
It looked like the end for Orozco in the eighth. Ramirez forced him to the ropes and delivered a brutal left hook to the liver. Orozco winced in pain and crumbled to the canvas. It was the sort of punch that frequently leads to a knockout, but somehow Orozco managed to beat [the] referee’s count and blast back with his own punches.
Orozco battled on fairly even terms with Ramirez in the ninth and jarred the titleholder with a right uppercut in the 10th round.
Orozco appeared to be tiring in the 11th, and Ramirez made good use of his left hook to regain total control. By then Orozco was bleeding from a cut on his left eyebrow.
Ramirez won the final round as well, but with less than a minute to go, they stood chest-to-chest and banged away until the bell rang, at which point the crowd erupted in a well-deserved ovation. [End Collins item]
In his post-fight interview, Jose said, “Antonio Orozco is a true warrior. He wouldn’t stay down.”
Hall of Famer trainer Freddie Roach was Jose’s head trainer for his last 12 fights, and had been involved in Jose’s training for his entire pro career.
He is now trained by Robert Garcia, the Boxing Writers Association of America “2012 Trainer of the Year” and a former IBF junior lightweight world champion.
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Jose said, “I was born and raised in Avenal, California. I have two brothers and one sister. My father, he’s a supervisor for a big contractor in agriculture and my mom, she’s a housewife. I’m the only boxer in my family.
“My family were all soccer fans and I was playing soccer since I was like, three or four years old. I was actually a good soccer player, and I was a good baseball player. That was my dad’s favorite sport – baseball.
“I started boxing when I was seven years old. I wasn’t a troublemaker and I wasn’t a street-fighter, but I had too much energy as a kid so my dad took me to the gym. There was a gym right up the street from us, and he wanted me to do something active in a positive way.
“I went through my amateur book the other day and I had 182 wins and 11 losses. I’m naturally right-handed.”…
Jose has a two-year-old son, Matteo…Jose said, “I have someone to think about now and look after. It motivates me to work extra hard. I’ve always been a very family-oriented person growing up. My parents showed me an example of what a relationship should be, all the love and support they gave me since I was little. Even though we were not the most fortunate financially, I always had a lot of love. Now I feel so proud to be able to have my son, and for him to look at me. It makes me a more disciplined person overall. It’s a great experience.”…
A boxer from a small agricultural community in California’s San Joaquin Valley who wins several national amateur championships and makes the U.S. Olympic team attracts a lot of attention in his home area, and Jose has used that spotlight to do more than just further his own career. During California’s recent historic drought, he’s headlined a series of fight cards in his home area titled “Fight for Water” to raise awareness for the cause of bringing water to his community.
Regarding the Fight for Water boxing events, Jose said, “Top Rank likes to build fighters where they’re from, create a platform for the fighters so they have a home base. My family and friends work in agriculture, and I started seeing the news about how the drought was affecting this area.
“I come from a small community and I know how important agricultural jobs are to the people here. I told my manager, Rick, that I wanted to do something – with me being an Olympian and having some attention back home – to bring awareness to the problem and give people some hope.
“Coming from where I’m from has made me the fighter that I am. I feel like I owe it to everybody for the support and opportunities they’ve given me. My culture and the way I was raised – I’m so thankful. If I’m given the opportunity, I’m going to take it and make something happen with it.”…
Retired former Los Angeles Times Sports Editor Bill Dwyre wrote [Feb. 16, 2016 – excerpts]: Ramírez’s cause is water rights for Central California’s agriculture industry, which, by many calculations, does about 56% of the world’s agriculture. He is young to be an influential boxer. But when he speaks, he does so from experience.
“When I was 14 and 15, during my high school summers, I worked in the fields, picking fruit,” he says. Asked to compare that labor to training as a boxer, he just laughs. “I’d be up at 4:30, out on the fields by 6 and we’d pick and load until 4:30,” Ramírez says. “I’d get back to Avenal and go straight to the gym.”
And their break time? “We’d get 30 minutes for lunch,” he says, “but it would take us 10 minutes just to get back to our car.”
To be clear, he is not whining about the work, something that is part of the area’s legacy. He is proud of that work ethic, proud to live where most feel the same, where working in the fields is often a lifetime, not a route to becoming a CEO.
Ramírez is, already, one of the area’s more prominent people. He could, as most would, focus on increasing that personal prominence and little else. Instead, Ramírez has become a rallying point for the area’s agriculture industry. Most would shun the stage and stay in the gym. Ramírez has stepped to the lectern.
The battle is between farmers and environmentalists. The issue is who gets the precious water, and how much of it. The decisions are mandated out of the state capitol in Sacramento.
Manuel Cunha, Jr., is among the leading spokespersons for Central Valley water rights. He is President of NISEI Farmers Group, and he says the presence of Ramírez, as a homegrown symbol, has been crucial to the efforts. “He is very important to us,” Cunha says. “He gives the cause a face.”
Ramírez doesn’t see the people working in the fields as having a menial job, but as having something to take great pride in, to fear losing. He is a fast-rising boxer with a vivid memory.
“When I was out there, picking,” he says, “I was young and I didn’t think anything could slow me down. Then it would get to be 105-107 degrees, and we’d be picking bell peppers that don’t grow more than two feet high. I would start the day helping the older ladies, women in their 50s. By the end of the day, with all that bending and stooping, they’d be helping me.
“Some of these people have been in those fields all their lives.”
Bob Arum, chief executive of Top Rank Promotions, sees the cause beyond just winning and losing and embraces it for his young boxer.
“He has devoted himself,” Arum says, “to the fight to save water for the San Joaquin Valley.” [End Dwyre item]
2012 OLYMPIC GAMES – London, England, 132 pounds: in his first fight on 7-29-12 he won a 21-20 decision against Rachid Azzedine of France; in his second fight on 8-2-12 he lost a 15-11 decision against Fazliddin Gaibnazarov of Uzbekistan…
2012 AMERICAS OLYMPIC QUALIFIER – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 132 pounds – BRONZE MEDALIST: in his first fight on 5-7-12 he stopped Michael Alexander of Trinidad & Tobago in the 3rd round; in the quarterfinals on 5-9-12 he won a 23-11 decision against Alex Rynn of Canada; in the semifinals he lost a 13-10 decision against Wellington Arias of Dominican Republic…
2012 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Fort Carson, Colorado, 132 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 2-27-12 he stopped Karin Zaiden; in his second fight on 2-28-12 he won an 18-5 decision against Albert Bell; in his third fight on 2-29-12 he stopped Tommy Roque; in the quarterfinals on 3-1-12 he won a 23-12 decision against Lavisas Williams; in the semifinals on 3-2-12 he won a 27-14 decision against Kenneth Sims Jr.; in the finals on 3-3-12 he won a 19-13 decision against Raynell Williams…
2011 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Baku, Azerbaijan, 132 pounds: in his first fight on 10-1-11 he won a 22-12 decision against Vladimir Saruhanyan of Armenia; in his second fight on 10-3-11 he lost a 16-9 decision against Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine…
2011 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS – Mobile, Alabama, 132 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 7-31-11 he won a 35-11 decision against Toribio Ramirez of Bowling Green, Fla.; in the quarterfinals on 8-1-11 he won a 23-22 decision against Kenneth Sims Jr. of Chicago, Ill.; in the semifinals on 8-4-11 he won an 18-17 decision against Raynell Williams of Cleveland, Oh.; in the finals on 8-5-11 he won a 21-16 decision against Raynell Williams of Cleveland, Oh….
2011 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Colorado Springs, Colorado, 132 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 6-22-11 he stopped Kevin Rivers of Landover, Md., in the 3rd round; in the quarterfinals on 6-23-11 he won a 15-11 decision against Adam Castillo of Lubbock, Tex.; in the semifinals on 6-24-11 he won by disqualification against Damon Allen of Philadelphia, Penn.; in the finals on 6-26-11 he won a 28-20 decision against Toka Kahn Clary of Providence, R.I….
2011 NATIONAL GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS – Indianapolis, Indiana, 132 pounds: in his first fight on 4-26-11 he lost a decision against Erick de Leon…
2010 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Colorado Springs, Colorado, 132 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 7-13-10 he won a 25-6 decision against Bobby Hornsby; in the quarterfinals on 7-14-10 he won a 15-11 decision against Adrian Martinez; in the semifinals on 7-15-10 he had a 7-7 draw, but won the tiebreaker against Duran Caferro; in the finals on 7-17-10 he had a 4-4 draw, but won the tiebreaker against Eric Flores…
2009 U.S. JUNIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Denver, Colorado, 125 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 6-8-09 he won a 12-5 decision against Daniel Molina; in the quarterfinals on 6-9-99 he stopped Hilario Ramirez Medina in the 3rd round; in the semifinals on 6-10-09 he won a 5-0 decision against Isaac Castaneda; in the finals on 6-11-09 he won a 13-10 decision against Damon Allen…
STRENGTHS: Has good skills and movement…has good punching power…is versatile – can pressure his opponents or box and move…has stayed active in the ring and made good progress…had a strong amateur background…
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 23 fights…97 total rounds…24 world championship rounds…
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 4.2 rounds…
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: 69 %…
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 12 rounds – 2 (2-0)…10 rounds – 1 (1-0)…8 rounds – 2 (2-0)…