Jose Ramirez drew another big crowd at home in Fresno, and though he didn’t give them any highlight reel sort of material, he successfully defended his WBC 140-pound title once again, coming out on top against Jose Zepeda.
Ramirez (24-0, 16 KO) won a tough majority decision on scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 116-112. BLH had it 114-114.
Zepeda (30-2, 25 KO) made it a hard night for the champion, outboxing him early before Ramirez picked up the pace a bit and was able to get himself going. It was an entertaining fight, too, with both landing and standing up to good shots. Ramirez was cut in the fourth round on a clash of heads (ruled a punch, reportedly), and Zepeda also opened up a bit, as the heads kept coming together in the righty-lefty matchup.
Fatigue did appear to play a bit of a factor. Zepeda had never fought a 12-round distance before, and only gone past six three times in his career, and he ran out of steam somewhat as the fight wore on, allowing Ramirez to take some rounds down the stretch.
Former lightweight titleholder Ray Beltran bounced back from losing his belt last time out to stop previously unbeaten Hiroki Okada in the co-feature. Beltran, 37, was moving up to 140 pounds for this fight.
.@BeltranBoxing finishes Okada in the 9th! WHAT. A. FIGHT. #RamirezZepeda pic.twitter.com/t2yx9ktWzJ— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) February 11, 2019
The bout started fast, with Okada (19-1, 13 KO) landing some good shots early, but the pressure of Beltran (36-8-1, 22 KO) got to him, and Okada was down in the second round. The Japanese fighter did come back that same round to rock Beltran pretty hard, which Beltran admitted after the fight, so you know he was legitimately buzzed.
Beltran got the better of things on the inside as the fight went on, and found it relatively easy to crowd Okada a lot of the time. Okada went down again in the ninth round, but got up, and Beltran went for the finish. He dropped Okada again, and Okada’s corner threw in the towel.
After the fight, Beltran said he’s looking for another world title, and even said he could move back down to 135 if need be.
On the preliminary portion of the card, super bantamweight prospect Carlos Castro picked up a big win, scoring a wide decision over Genesis Servania. Castro (22-0, 9 KO) beat the former featherweight title challenger on scores of 98-92, 99-91, and 100-90. Servania falls to 32-2 (15 KO).
Super featherweight Andy Vences improved to 22-0-1 (12 KO) with an eight-round shutout win over Dardan Zenunaj (14-6, 11 KO). Junior welterweight Joel Diaz Jr, once a prospect to watch, was upset, knocked out in the third round by Cristian Rafael Coria (29-7-2, 13 KO). It was the second loss in three fights for Diaz (24-2, 20 KO).