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WBO orders Jose Ramirez vs Jack Catterall, Shakur Stevenson vs Joet Gonzalez title fights

Jose Ramirez has a mandatory challenger, and the WBO is looking to fill its featherweight vacancy, too.

Maurice Hooker v Jose Ramirez Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

The WBO has ordered a pair of mandatory world title fights at 140 and 126, one for a vacant title.

The sanctioning body has ordered Jose Ramirez, who recently added the WBO title to the WBC belt he already held with a win over Maurice Hooker, to face undefeated Jack Catterall.

Catterall (24-0, 13 KO) was always going to be ordered to face the Hooker-Ramirez winner, as it was part of the fight’s contract, giving Catterall a shot within 120 days of that fight. Ramirez (25-0, 17 KO) won the fight with Hooker, and now Catterall is next.

The fight should be easy to make. Ramirez is promoted by Top Rank and Catterall by Frank Warren, and the two sides have a strong working relationship. Ramirez could return home to Fresno, California, for a defense, as he’s a good draw there, or the fight could conceivably wind up in the United Kingdom. Ramirez showed by going to Hooker’s backyard in Texas that he’s not afraid to go on the road, and if the money is better in the UK, then that might be the call.

Catterall, 26, hasn’t faced anyone on the world level at this point, but he’s a good southpaw fighter who won the British title in 2017. The 26-year-old Ramirez would be the obvious favorite, but styles make fights.

Terence Crawford v Amir Khan Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The other fight could be somewhat trickier, as the WBO have ordered a vacant featherweight title fight between Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez. Stevenson (12-0, 7 KO) was ordered to face Oscar Valdez, who instead vacated to move up to 130 pounds. Stevenson is a Top Rank fighter, as is Valdez, and that fight would’ve been easy to make in theory.

Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KO) is a Golden Boy fighter. Golden Boy did recently allow Francisco Vargas to fight Top Rank’s Miguel Berchelt on ESPN, and it’s not like the 25-year-old Gonzalez is some marquee main event star for Golden Boy or their DAZN deal, so you’d expect the fight to get done. Stevenson just headlined on ESPN for the first time and both the promotional company and network are high on him, so they’ll want the fight.

Gonzalez is a good young fighter, but Stevenson, 22, will certainly be favored. He’s got way more hype behind him and seems to have the higher ceiling.

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