SAN DIEGO, April 22, 2017 – Three undefeated world champions hope to put on a show under the stars at the StubHub Center just steps from The Rock gym run by trainer Manny Robles, where they train together in Carson, California. Super middleweight Gilberto Ramirez, featherweight Oscar Valdez, and junior featherweight Jessie Magdaleno all put titles on the line against their opponents.
Robles trains Valdez and Magdaleno, and invited fellow trainer Hector Zapari to bring Ramirez in to prep in the neighborhood. It’s working for the Ukrainian “Dream Team” training together in Oxnard, California, and the model seems to be working for these three amigos.
In the main event, Valdez (21-0, 19 KOs) will defend his WBO belt against mandatory challenger Miguel Marriaga (25-1, 21 KOs) of Colombia.
Super middleweight stablemate Gilberto Ramirez of Mexico (34-0, 24 KOs) faces Maxim Bursak of Ukraine (33-4-1, 15 KO). His return to the ring after defeated veteran Arthur Abraham last year was delayed due to a broken hand. Ramirez’ WBO belt is on the line.
The third champion defeating his WBO belt is super bantamweight Jessie Magdaleno of Las Vegas (24-0, 17 KOs), who fights Adeilson Dos Santos of Brazil (18-2, 14 KOs).
The fourth featured bout on the Top Rank pay-per-view card is the professional debut of U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson of Newark, New Jersey. He faces Edgar Brito (3-2-1, 2 KOs) of Phoenix. Stevenson’s Olympic teammate, two-time gold medalist Claressa Shields, will be on hand to root Stevenson on.
The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Top Rank is producing the PPV because it couldn’t secure a broadcast or premium cable deal.
Valdez keeps improving and impressing with every fight. He’s loaded with talent but he is still learning his craft and amassing the experience it takes to be able to face all challengers. This bout should give Valdez plenty of work, but isn’t likely to pose a significant risk to his record. Nevertheless, he’s showing his opponent plenty of respect.
“This is the biggest, most difficult fight of my life,” said Valdez. “I want to be aggressive and take control but I need to be intelligent while doing it. I am a world champion but I am still hungry. I know how special this fight is and I know a win over Marriaga will make me a better champion. I’ve never worked harder for a fight. Marriaga is the real deal and we know it.”
The same is true for Ramirez, but he’s yet to prove whether his stunning performance against Abraham was a fluke. Still, he’s the super middleweight everyone wants to match against the other big names in the division, and he’s constantly mentioned as the first opponent middleweight Gennady Golovkin should face if and when he moves up in weight. Bursak’s best days are behind him. This bout is meant to test Ramirez to see how his rehabbed hand holds up.
Ramirez has looked solid in training and said will do his best to impress the StubHub fans, in part by showing off his recently acquired English language skills. “I’m ready to get back in the ring and defend my title for the first time. I know there are a lot of fighters looking to fight me and challenge for my title, but right now I’m focused on my fight against Max Bursak. Let’s see what happens after that. I’ll fight anyone. I want the best. It’s an honor to fight at StubHub Center where there have been so many great fights. I know there will be a lot of fans supporting me.”
Magdaleno gets an even lighter test for the first defense of his title against Dos Santos of Brazil. With so much talent in the lower weight divisions, wasn’t there a better matchup for Magdaleno? Although Dos Santos has reportedly been training with former champion Nonito Donaire, Magdaleno says he won’t take his belt.
The same really could be said of all three champions, but at least Top Rank is getting them back in the ring and keeping them busy. It serves no one to have boxers go ten months or more between fights, as Premier Boxing Champions’ stable often does.
Most of the fan excitement and buzz is around a boxer who’s stepping into the ring as a professional for the first time. Nineteen-year-old bantamweight Shakur Stevenson is coming off a silver-medal and has abundant raw talent combined with a charismatic personality, topped off with a million dollar smile. What’s not to love? He’s being handed the opportunity for a fairly easy debut, with his main objective to make a splash at a venue known for its knowledgeable, passionate fans and all action atmosphere.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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