Press Conference Notes: Robeisy Ramirez Ready to Defend Featherweight Crown against Rafael Espinoza

Thursday, December 7th 2023

Ramirez-Espinoza and Xander Zayas-Jorge Fortea will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (Dec. 7, 2023) — Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez is ready to defend his world title in front of a crowd of Cuban supporters in South Florida.

Ramirez (13-1, 8 KOs) will defend his WBO featherweight crown against
unbeaten Mexican contender Rafael “El Divino” Espinoza (21-0, 18 KOs) this Saturday, Dec. 9 at Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

In the 10-round junior middleweight co-feature, Puerto Rican sensation Xander Zayas (17-0, 11 KOs) squares off against Spain’s Jorge Fortea (24-3-1, 9 KOs).

Ramirez-Espinoza and Zayas-Fortea will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, tickets are on sale at

The ESPN+-streamed undercard (5:40 p.m. ET/2:40 p.m. PT) features the return of rising featherweight Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (9-0, 5 KOs), who will take on former world title challenger Jason Sanchez (16-4, 9 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

U.S. Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr. (7-0, 7 KOs) will face Curtis Harper (14-10, 9 KOs) in an eight-round heavyweight battle.

The undercard also sees the returns of Dominican Olympian Rohan Polanco (10-0, 6 KOs) and U.S. Olympian Tiger Johnson (10-0, 5 KOs) in separate eight-round junior welterweight bouts.

At Thursday’s press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Robeisy Ramirez

“Aside from being very concentrated on this fight, I am also very excited and happy to be able to defend my world title in Miami, where I know my Cuban people will be in attendance. I’m excited for the show we’ll be delivering this Saturday.”

“Becoming a champion has been a change for the better. This includes the training because that is what has to change the most as you always have to be prepared for a great 12-round fight.”

“I have never struggled with taller fighters. But with regard to how I will fight, I leave that to my trainer, Ismael Salas.”

Rafael Espinoza

“This is a moment that all boxers hope for. I have been wanting this opportunity ever since I first put on a pair of gloves. Now I’m here. This means everything to me.”

“I always try to use my height advantage. My body has been blessed with this height, and I don’t even struggle to make weight. Obviously, I use it to my advantage, but like all Mexicans, I like coming forward, too.”

“My 21 fights are behind me, and what I have in front of me is this important opportunity, this world title fight.”

Xander Zayas

“I am very happy that he’s coming well prepared and that he had all the preparation in the world because I want the best Jorge Fortea that night. I will give the best version of myself. In my last fight, I showed why I’m made for this. This next fight will be the same.”

“I don’t feel like there’s anything special {about him}. The speed is something that could concern me. He’s not faster or stronger than me, but he does have some good speed.”

Jorge Fortea

“This is boxing. And anything can happen. I’ve prepared very well because they notified me of this fight ahead of time. Normally, I’m not notified ahead of time. That’s why I’m very prepared.”

“My goal right now is to win this fight. It will move me up the ladder and allow me to have more fights at this level.”

Richard Torrez Jr. 

“I really do enjoy just being active. This kind of reminds me of the amateur days, where we’d have five fights in like five days. So sometimes it feels a little slow almost. But this is an amazing opportunity to be here to showcase all the training that we’ve been doing.”

“We’re prepared for the rounds. If the opportunity comes to have a knockout, I’m not going to pass it up. I go out there to showcase what I’ve been able to do, and if a punch lands, a punch lands.”

Bruce Carrington

“I’m really focused on this fight. But I also want to stay as consistent as I am. I love being inside the ring. This is my fifth fight this year. I want to give the fans more of me and more of what they want to see in 2024.”

“It’s really important for me to really put on a show for everyone so we can enjoy the holidays.”

Saturday, December 9

ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT)

Robeisy Ramirez vs. Rafael Espinoza, 12 rounds, Ramirez’s WBO Featherweight World Title

Xander Zayas vs. Jorge Fortea, 10 rounds, junior middleweight

ESPN+ (5:40 p.m. ET/2:40 p.m. PT)

Bruce Carrington vs. Jason Sanchez, 10 rounds, featherweight

Richard Torrez Jr. vs. Curtis Harper, 8 rounds, heavyweight

Jahi Tucker vs. Francisco Daniel Veron, 8 rounds, junior middleweight

Rohan Polanco vs. Keith Hunter, 8 rounds, junior welterweight

Tiger Johnson vs. Jimmer Espinosa, 8 rounds, junior welterweight

Damian Knyba vs. Michael Coffie, 8 rounds, heavyweight

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