Robeisy Ramirez will make the first defense of his WBO featherweight title on Tuesday, July 25, heading to Tokyo to face Satoshi Shimizu.
The fight will be the featured undercard bout on the card headlined by Stephen Fulton Jr defending his two 122 lb titles against Naoya Inoue, and will be one of the biggest boxing events of the year in Japan, maybe the biggest.
Ramirez, 29, won the vacant WBO belt on April 1 in Tulsa, Okla., beating Isaac Dogboe by clear decision. He’ll be facing a fellow southpaw in the 37-year-old Shimizu (11-1, 10 KO), who has won three straight following an upset TKO loss to Joe Noynay in 2019.
Shimizu, like Ramirez (12-1, 7 KO), does have high-level amateur experience, and while not the degree of success the Cuban attained with two Olympic gold medals, Shimizu did win bronze at the London 2012 Olympics, and also competed at the 2008 Games in Beijing, where he was unhappy about a first round defeat to Yakup Kilic.
In London, he defeated the aforementioned Dogboe, then was involved in a hugely controversial decision where he was initially declared the loser against Azerbaijan’s Magomed Abdulhamidov, only for that to be overturned. He lost to Great Britain’s Luke Campbell, who went on to win gold, in the semifinal round.
He failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics and finally turned pro at age 30 in Sept. 2016, and won the OPBF featherweight title in his fourth pro bout 13 months later.
Shimizu will be a major underdog here, but he can box and he does have some power, and there have certainly been crazier and bigger upsets than this would be, but yes, Ramirez is a clear favorite. It does mean that Ramirez will stay busy, though, and that the undercard will have at least one fight that is notable beyond the domestic scene in Japan.