It was expected, and it’s now official. Jose Ramirez will defend the WBC junior welterweight title on July 7 in Fresno against Danny O’Connor, live on ESPN.
Ramirez (22-0, 16 KO) won the vacant belt on March 17 in New York, outpointing Amir Imam in another ESPN-televised main event. The 25-year-old ex-Olympian has been very impressive thus far as a professional, and has become a good draw in his backyard in California. This fight will be his seventh in Fresno, and his fourth at Save Mart Arena.
O’Connor (30-3, 11 KO) is a Massachusetts fighter, a 33-year-old veteran who has been beaten in past steps up. He lost to Tito Bracero back in 2011, and to a shot Vivian Harris in 2013. More recently, he was viciously knocked out in one by Bracero in their 2015 rematch. But he’s won four straight, most recently beating Steve Claggett on March 17 in Boston.
Ramirez, make no mistake, is expected to win, and the current plan is to match him later this year against Regis Prograis, who holds the interim WBC title at 140 pounds. Prograis will fight on July 14 against Juan Jose Velasco, also on ESPN. Promoters hope showcasing the fighters on back-to-back weekends will put some more juice behind the Ramirez-Prograis matchup.