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Golden Boy Boxing: Zurdo Ramirez vs Sullivan Barrera preview

A stacked boxing card on a Friday night in Los Angeles.

Gilberto Ramirez v Sullivan Barrera - Weigh In
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Sullivan Barrera pose for a photo during the weigh in on July 8, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Golden Boy has a very deep card scheduled for Friday, with former WBO super-middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez (41-0, 27 KOs) continuing his light heavyweight campaign against former title challenger Sullivan Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs) and three title fights on the undercard.

Ramirez won his WBO belt off of the venerable Arthur Abraham back in 2016 and defended it five times... although he was pretty carefully matched. However, he struggled in a couple of fights with Jesse Hart. He moved to light heavyweight in 2019, stopping Tommy Karpency in 4 and Alfonso Lopez in 10, but he got hit a bit more than he should have in that one considering the opposition. He’s undeniably a talented fighter, a southpaw with fluid left straight-right hook combos and a nice left uppercut. He can be really nice to watch on offense at times though he’s only an average puncher. But his defensive issues will likely prevent him from being a true elite fighter. He should get past his adversary this week end though, Sullivan Barrera was a fringe contender in the division but he’s 39, hasn’t fought in two years and has been dropped in three of his last four. He was aggressive in his last fight but also tended to sloppily fall into clinches. If he is to accomplish something in this division, this is a fight Ramirez has to win and he has to look good doing it.

In the co-main event, Joseph Diaz Jr (31-1-1, 15 KOs), former featherweight and super-featherweight champion (titles he both lost on the scales) makes his lightweight debut against Javier Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs) in a WBC interim title fight. This should be a very good match up between two very good southpaws. Diaz is a bit more academic, an outside fighter with a high guard and mostly relying on his feet defensively, while Fortuna is more aggressive and has flashier head movement and a very nice right hook. Diaz is the favorite but I feel like Fortuna is good value for an upset, he’s more experienced in the division, the bigger puncher and only lost to IBF champion Robert Easter Jr by split decision.

The card also features two women’s title fights, Tenkai Tsunami (28-12-1, 16 KOs) defending her WBO light flyweight title against WBA minimumweight champion Seniesa Estrada (20-0, 8 KOs). Tsunami is a veteran who like most Japanese fighters has a very offensive style. She should make the fight a fun affair but Seneisa Estrada looks like she might be one of the best fighters in women’s boxing. She is athletic, a solid puncher and a very versatile technician comfortable as a southpaw or orthodox fighter.

The other title fight sees 45-year-old Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7 KOs), Japan’s first and only 5-weight world champion, defend her WBA flyweight title against Sulem Urbina Ochoa (12-1, 2 KOs). This is very tough fight to pick, Fujioka hasn’t fought in two years and looked every bit her age in her last fight, a very generous draw with Tenkai Tsunami in which she looked sloppy and slow. However Ochoa has only won against very limited competition and lost in her only step up against Marlen Esparza. I am leaning towards Ochoa, who has a decent jab and will have size on her side. Fujioka’s saving grace is her decent pace for a fighter her age but I fear the two years away from the ring might have compromised it and thus I think the Mexican will put an end to Fujioka’s excellent career.

The last notable fight on the card is a very good clash of undefeated prospects between Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) and William Zepeda (22-0, 20 KOs). Tanajara is the more versatile and skilled prospect in my opinion, able to box or fight depending on the needs if each specific fight. In that case, he will need to box as Zepeda is a very aggressive southpaw with nasty power. Tanajara has a very good jab and while skillwise he can probably hang or even get the better of Zepeda on the inside, Zepeda’s style is to draw his opponents into wars where his power can make the difference. Given that Tanajara, for all his qualities, isn’t much of a puncher himself, a gameplan based on outside fighting seems warranted.

The main event could be a bit better but overall this is a card with a lot of intriguing match ups.

Ramirez vs Barrera airs on DAZN on Friday July 9th at 9:00pm ET / 6:00pm PT