The IBF cruiserweight title, which Jai Opetaia was forced to vacate ahead of his one-punch knockout of Ellas Zorro, won’t stay vacant for long. Dan Rafael reports and Jake Donovan confirms that Mairis Briedis and Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez are set for a January 16th purse bid to determine control of their title bout.
It’ll be a very busy week for the IBF, as Bakhram Murtazaliev vs. Jack Culcay (vacant super welterweight title) and Jack Catterall vs. Richardson Hitchins (super lightweight final eliminator) head to purse bid five days prior.
Briedis (28-2, 20 KO) hasn’t seen action since breaking Opetaia’s jaw in a losing effort two Julys ago. At 38 years old and with a recent injury, it’s anyone’s guess what he has left in the tank, but he’s unquestionably a tall task for Ramirez (45-1, 30 KO). “Zurdo” has yet to fight a true cruiserweight since eating his way out of 175; his lone bout of 2023 saw him outclass Joe Smith Jr at 192 pounds, which was somehow sufficient to shoot him up near the top of the rankings.
If Briedis is on, there’s a very good chance this turns into a banger. His blend of power, craft, and outright bastardry is a handful for anyone, even a “Zurdo” that looks rejuvenated after falling to Dmitry Bivol.