Ramirez: ‘I won two Olympic gold medals, and now I can call myself a champion’

Robeisy Ramirez’s pro career started differently than he wanted. He was dropped and lost his pro debut by split decision to Adan Gonzales in 2019. Ultimately, he would avenge that loss; now, he’s a champion.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist captured the vacant WBO featherweight world title with a unanimous decision victory over former junior featherweight world champion Isaac Dogboe (24-3, 15 KOs) Saturday evening at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

The three judges scored the fight 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108, for the winner and new champion, Robeisy Ramirez.

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – APRIL 1: Isaac Dogboe (L) and Robeisy Ramirez (R) exchange punches during their WBO featherweight championship fight at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on April 1, 2023 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

After the win, Ramirez mentioned his loss in his pro debut. According to him, it might have been the best thing that’s happened to him.

“I believe things happened for a reason,” Ramirez said. “If it wasn’t for that loss in my pro debut, I would have never ended up with Ismael Salas(trainer). Yordenis Ugas never would’ve told me, ‘You have to move to Vegas, you have to change your life,’ and I never would have gotten this team together to be where I am today.”

There was extraordinary give and take in the first half of the fight, but in the second half, Ramirez(12-1, 7 KOs) established control and scored a knockdown in the final round.

“I’m living a new stage in my life,” the Cuban native said. “This is a new history that I’m writing, and I did everything I had to do. As an Olympian, I won two Olympic gold medals, and now I can call myself a champion.”

Joet Gonzalez Beats Jose Enrique Vivas 

Featherweight contender Joet Gonzalez (26-3, 15 KOs) needed another win tonight to keep his hopes alive for another world title opportunity, and Jose Enrique Vivas wasn’t going to make things easy for him. Indeed, the 29-year-old native of Glendora, California, had to work in each second of every round of tonight’s ten-rounder to earn the unanimous decision.

Gonzalez and Vivas (22-3, 11 KOs) spent the entire fight in the center of the ring, exchanging short hooks, overhand rights and uppercuts at close range. In the later rounds, Gonzalez began using his jab and created some distance, but not for long.

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – APRIL 1 Jose Enrique Vivas (L) and Joet Gonzalez (R) exchange punches during their featherweight fight at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on April 1, 2023 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Gonzalez prevailed by scores of 98-92 2x and 99-91, preserving his chances of earning a third title shot. He fell short by decision in previous title challenges to Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navarrete.

Junior Middleweights: Jahi Tucker (10-0, 5 KOs) went toe-to-toe for eight rounds against the much bigger and stronger Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (8-2, 6 KOs) before winning via unanimous decision. Sekhniashvili pressed the action early and forced Tucker to fight on the outside, where ate many shots as he tried to find his composure. Tucker found his rhythm and swept the later rounds. Scores: 77-74 3x.

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – APRIL 1: Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (L) and Jahi Tucker (R) exchange punches during their welterweight fight at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on April 1, 2023 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Heavyweights: Jeremiah Milton (9-0, 6 KOs) delivered his first hometown performance in eight months with a wide points victory against Brazil’s Fabio Maldonado (29-7, 28 KOs). Maldonado, an experienced MMA fighter, made the fight awkward and often closed the distance with his head, for which he was deducted a point in the sixth round. Scores: 78-72 and 80-70 2x.

Junior Welterweights: U.S. Olympian Tiger Johnson (8-0, 5 KOs) demonstrated his counterpunching ability with an eight-round unanimous decision victory over Alfonso Olvera (12-8-3, 4 KOs). Johnson, who was rocked in the opening round, nearly sent Olvera to the canvas with a right hand in the sixth round. Scores: 80-72 3x.

Light Heavyweights: Cleveland light heavyweight standout Dante Benjamin Jr. (6-0, 4 KOs) dropped Jasper McCargo III (4-4-2, 2 KOs) four times before knocking him out late in the second. Time of stoppage: 2:58.

Lightweights: Emiliano Fernando Vargas (4-0, 3 KOs) defeated Edgar Uvalle (2-4-2, 2 KOs) via second-round knockout. Vargas, with his father and trainer Fernando Vargas in his corner, gradually wore Uvalle down with hooks and right hands to the head and body. Time of stoppage: 1:21.

Lightweights: Cleveland’s Abdullah Mason (7-0, 6 KOs) landing a thunderous counter right hook to drop and finish Erick Garcia Benitez (4-4, 1 KO) at 1:32 of the first round. Mason, at only 18 years old, is one of the sports fastest-rising prospects.

Junior Welterweights: Dominican Olympian Rohan Polanco (9-0, 5 KOs) dominated Ricardo Quiroz (12-2, 6 KOs) over six rounds of action to win by unanimous decision. Scores: 60-54 3x.

Two-time Gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez loses debut

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez lost a four-round split decision to Adan Gonzales in one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history. Gonzales (5-2-2, 2 KOs) knocked down Ramirez in the opening seconds of the first round to propel him to the win.

“When they announced a split decision, I knew I better have won that fight, or something would have seriously been wrong,” Gonzales said. “I attacked him from the start, and I got the win. You ain’t seen the last of me.”

Said Ramirez: “I feel like I won that fight. He may have been throwing more, but I was the one landing the cleaner punches. This is a setback, but trust me, I will be back.”

As an amateur, Ramirez, 25, holds victories over Shakur Stevenson and Michael Conlan, but unfortunately for Ramirez, this is not the amateurs. Here is the good thing for Ramirez, it’s only one fight, and it was his first fight. Therefore, he has time to get better and improve as a fighter.  However, for now, he must deal with the fact that he lost his debut.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank