Strictly Business Boxing
Strictly Business Boxing

Zurdo vs Smith Jr. Undercard Announced

Jahye Brown & Rajon Chance

Look To Make Statement October 7th!

(September 16th) The always-entertaining “Scrappy” John Ramirez (12-0, 8 KOs) will co-headline the Zurdo vs. Smith Jr card with a 10-round, WBA Super Flyweight Final Eliminator fight against Panama City, Panama’s Ronal Batista (15-3, 9 KOs). The winner of the scrap will move on to fight for a world title. The highly anticipated fight night is presented in collaboration with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and will take place live from The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and live around the world on DAZN beginning at 5:00 p.m. PT. World title


Bektemir “The Bully” Melikuziev (12-1, 9 KOs) of Shoimbek, Uzbekistan, who also proudly represents Indio, California, will face Upper Marlboro, Maryland’s Alantez “SlyAza” Fox (28-4-1, 13 KOs). “The Bully” is returning after a successful rematch against boxing veteran Gabriel Rosado in April 2023 that saw him become the WBA Intercontinental Super Middleweight Titleholder which he will defend on October 7. Opening the DAZN broadcast, Tristan “Sweet T” Kalkreuth (11-1, 8 KOs) of Carolton, Texas will face a soon-to-be-announced opponent in a six-round cruiserweight fight. Kalkreuth’s last fight in July left fan’s jaws on the floor after a vicious knockout and a backflip to celebrate.


Star Boxing talent is featured heavily in the preliminaries including an eight-round junior middleweight fight featuring, Jahyae "Golden Child" Brown (13-1 9KO’s), who will face off against Youngstown, Ohio’s Victor Toney (7-2-1 6KO’s). Also featured is Star Boxing’s undefeated, New Jersey prospect, Rajon “Picasso” Chance (8-0-1 6KO’s), who will measure up in an eight-round featherweight fight against Orlando Perez Zapata (13-0 9KO’s) of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.


On the preliminary undercard, Golden Boy favorites are scheduled to return against soon-to-be announced opponents. Fort Lauderdale’s Eric Tudor (9-0, 6 KOs) will participate in an eight-round super welterweight fight. After an explosive, second round knockout on September 7, recently signed Daniel “Ikaika” Luna (3-0, 3 KOs) will hope to repeat history with a four-round super lightweight fight. Also returning after a jaw-dropping main event in Mexico this past July, Alan “Rey David” Picasso Romero (25-0-1, 14 KOs) will participate in an eight-round super bantamweight fight.


Tickets for Zurdo vs. Smith Jr. are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50 plus applicable fees. A limited amount of Golden Boy VIP Experience tickets will also be available for purchase with exclusive merchandise and fight night upgrades included. Standard and VIP tickets can be purchased at or

Zurdo Ramirez Does Las Vegas Again

7½ Years Since He Last Fought In the Mecca of Boxing!

(Ramirez vs Abraham April 2016- MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas)

(September 12th) When former world super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) takes on former Light Heavyweight World Champion Joe “The Common Man” Smith, Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) on October 7th, it’ll be 7 ½ years since Ramirez last fought in the modern-day Mecca of Boxing, Las Vegas.


Zurdo vs. Smith will headline the Golden Boy Promotions event to be streamed live on DAZN from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan. Both veteran fighters will be making their cruiserweight debuts, albeit fighting at a 190-pound catchweight.


“Zurdo” last fought in Las Vegas on April 9, 2016, when he became the first Mexico native to capture a world super middleweight title, dominating a 12-round unanimous by winning each round on all three judges’ scorecards for a shutout, to defeat defending World Boxing Organization (WBO) World Champion Arthur Abraham (44-4) at MGM Grand. Ramirez is 3-0 (1 KO) in Las Vegas, while Smith is 1-0 in Las Vegas having stopped the then former WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion.


“Fighting in Las Vegas is an incredible experience,” Ramirez said. “It’s often referred to as the Mecca of Boxing for a good reason. The city has a rich history in the sport, hosting some of the most iconic and legendary boxing matches. The atmosphere, the energy, and the sheer excitement of fighting in such a renowned location are truly unparalleled. Personally, I enjoy fighting in Las Vegas not just because of its historical significance, but also because of the passionate fan base and overall boxing culture that the city embodies. The lights, venues and the whole ambiance creates a unique and electrifying environment that fuels my motivation and determination. While every fight location has its own charm, Las Vegas has a special place for any boxer. It’s a place for any boxer. It’s a place where dreams are made and legacies are forged, and I’m honored to be part of a tradition every time I step into the ring there.”


“Zurdo” is coming off of his first pro loss as he prepares to fight Smith. Ramirez lost a 12-round decision to World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitri Bivol (21-0) last November in Abu Dhabi. His training camp at Brickhouse Boxing Club in North Hollywood (CA) does have a different look.


“Win or lose, Ramirez explained, “I’m always looking to improve. While the loss was disappointing, it provided me with invaluable insights. Physically, I’m pushing myself even harder in training to ensure I’m in the best shape possible. I’m always focusing on refining my techniques and working on any weaknesses that were exposed in my previous fight. Mentally, the loss has ignited a new level of determination in me. It reminded me that setbacks are a part of the journey, and they only make us stronger. Overall, this loss is a unique opportunity for growth and transformation into the new division. I’m learning from my mistakes and adapting my strategy accordingly. I’m excited to showcase the improvements I’ve made and to prove that setbacks don’t define me – they motivate me to rise above and come back stronger than ever.


“The loss in my most recent fight was undoubtedly a significant learning experience for me. It provided valuable insights that I’m determined to use to become an even better fighter. Overall, the loss has reignited my motivation and commitment to improvement. I’m dedicated to refining my skills, broadening my fight IQ, and ensuring that I step into the ring as the best version of myself. While setbacks are rough, they are also opportunities for growth, and I’m embracing that philosophy as I continue my journey in the sport.”


Next stop, Las Vegas Boulevard…..the same city in which “Zurdo” first became world champion.

John “Scrappy” Ramirez vs. Ronal Batista

WBA Eliminator Added To Ramirez vs Smith Jr.

October 7th Stream Live On DAZN From Las Vegas!

(September 12th) Ten months after accepting a World Boxing Association (WBA) offer to fight in a title eliminator, electrifying super flyweight contender John “Scrappy” Ramirez (12-0, 9 KOs) will finally get his opportunity October 7th in Las Vegas against Panamanian boxer Ronal Batista (15-3, 9 KOs).


The winner of the 12-round fight between No. 2-rated Ramirez and No. 7 Batista will become the No. 1, mandatory challenger for new WBA Super Flyweight World Champion Kazuto Ioka (30-2-1, 15 KOs), of Japan, who dethroned defending world champion Joshua Franco this past June by scores of 116-112 twice and 115-113.


Ramirez vs. Batista will be fighting in the co-featured event on a Golden Boy-promoted card to be headlined by his friend and mentor, former world super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs), who takes on former world light heavyweight titleholder Joe “The Common Man” Smith, Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs).


All the action will be streamed live on DAZN from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan.


Ramirez was initially matched against then No. 3 rated Sirichai Thaiyen (64-4, 42 KOs), of Thailand, who has since dropped to No. 8 in the WBA rankings.


The 26-year-old Ramirez, fighting out of the mean streets of South-Central Los Angeles, has had his patience rewarded, and the entertaining fighter of Belizean and Honduran descent vows to take full advantage of this long overdue opportunity.


“It feels like I’m getting closer to my destination (to be world champion),” Ramirez said about the delay in his title elimination fight. “I didn’t have to fight my last two fights (he could have waited for the eliminator), but I risked it all. I’m in a good position (WBA #2) and would have lost my position if I had lost either of those fights. We went with it and now I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity.


“This will be my first time fighting in Las Vegas. I call it my destiny, The last time I was there, I watched David Benevidez fight (Caleb) Plant. It (Las Vegas’ boxing atmosphere) was inspiring. I still have a chip on my shoulder, because people don’t know who I am, and I’m not getting respect.”


In his most recent fight this past May, the 26-year-old Batista dropped down one weight class, unsuccessfully challenging World Boxing Council (WBA) Flyweight Champion Julio Cesar Martinez (19-2), who registered an 11th round technical knockout victory. Batista’s most notable victory to date is a ninth-round TKO of Antonio Guzman in 2018 for the International Boxing Association (IBA) Super Flyweight World title.


In addition to fighting in Las Vegas for his first time, “Scrappy” will also be in his first scheduled 12-round bout, in addition to fighting on the same card as “Zurdo” Ramirez.


“It’s a 12, we’re big boys,” Ramirez emphasized,” and I’m back together with ‘Zurdo’ on the same card. It’s an honor to share the ring with him again and I’m going to do the best I can do. I’m more comfortable now. We have the same competitive spirit and even though he’s in the main event, in a positive way, it’ll make me try to do better than him on October 7th.


“I’m not planning for this fight to go 12 rounds. My last two fights were decisions, but I’m looking for a knockout….I’m going to destroy this kid!”


“Scrappy” Ramirez is working with 3 Point Management (3 PM), a growing company based in Los Angeles that has a growing stable of gifted boxers including “Zurdo” Ramirez, light heavyweights Kareem Hackett (11-0, 6 KOs) and Darius “DFG “ Fulghum (6-0, 6 KOs), super middleweight Cem “Champ” Kilic (17-1, 11 KOs), and heavyweight Zach Spiller (3-0, 2 KOs).

Natural Growth Major Reason For Gilberto Ramirez

Moving Up To Cruiserweight Division October 7th 

Against Joe Smith, Jr. Live On DAZN From Las Vegas!

(August 31st) At the age of 32 and coupled with 14 years as a professional boxer, natural growth has forced former world super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) to move up in weight to the cruiserweight division from light heavyweight.


“Zurdo” will make his cruiserweight debut on October 7th versus former world light heavyweight champion Joe “The Common Man” Smith, Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) at a 190-pound catchweight, headlining a Golden Boy Promotions event to be streamed live on DAZN from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.


Ramirez, fighting out of Mazatlán, Mexico, has simply outgrown the 175-pound weight class. In several of his most recent fights, “Zurdo” has entered the ring nearing just shy of 200-pounds, despite officially making weight the day before.


“This fight marks my move up to the cruiserweight division,” Ramirez explained. “This decision is based on a combination of factors that my team and I carefully considered. One of the main reasons is my natural growth and development as an athlete. As I’ve progressed during my career, I’ve gained muscle mass and strength, making it more suitable for me to compete in the cruiserweight division.


“Additionally, we believe that this move will provide exciting new challenges and opportunities for me. The cruiserweight division is known for its competitive and diverse talent pool, and I’m eager to test my skills against opponents with different styles and strengths. This transition also aligns with my long-term goals in the sport, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to make a positive impact in this new weight class. I’ve worked closely with my coaches and trainers to ensure a smooth transition in terms of training, strategy, and overall preparation. While it is a new chapter in my career, I’m embracing the change and looking forward to proving myself at cruiserweight.”


Ramirez hasn’t fought since his unsuccessful challenge last November against World Boxing Association (WBA) Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitriy Bivol (20-0), dropping a 12-round unanimous decision in Abu Dhabi. “Zurdo” was scheduled to fight March 18th as a light heavyweight versus Gabe Rosado, but their fight was canceled when Ramirez came in overweight.


Rather than take a tune-up fight in his new weight class, “Zurdo” will take on Smith, who has defeated Bernard Hopkins, Andrzej Fonfara and Eleider Alvarez, among the more notables. The dangerous New Yorker from Long Island has stopped 22 of the 28 opponents he has defeated to date.


“I have nothing but respect for Joe,” Ramirez said. “He is a hard hitter and former world champion. But when I made this move to cruiserweight, I specifically asked my promoter for the toughest guys in the division to create a path to a world title fight. I’m a fighter and there has never been a fight I’ve dodged or turned down in my career and this is no different.


“Of course, any fight at this level will definitely shape the future and the next possible steps. I know how hard the stakes are and I want to prove to myself that I can be a world champion in this division.”


Ramirez was still highly rated as a light heavyweight when he announced his decision to campaign as a cruiserweight: The Ring #4, WBO #6, and WBA #7.

Former World Champions Collide:

Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez & Joe "The Beast" Smith Jr.

Collide October 7th Live On DAZN!

(August 21st) Former World Champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) will make his grand debut in the cruiserweight division and measure up against former light heavyweight World Champion Joe “Common Man” Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) of Long Island, New York on Saturday, October 7. The 12-round clash, presented in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, will take place live from The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and live around the world on DAZN.


The former WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez will be looking to make a statement and demonstrate he has the bravado to become a two-division titleholder. With nearly 15-years of professional experience, he embarked on a career that would see him defeating the likes of Maxim Vlasov, Jessie “Hard Work” Hart and “King” Arthur Abraham, whom he defeated to become the WBO Super Middleweight World Champion. His sole blemish on his record comes from a valiant performance against Dmitrii Bivol last November 2022. Ramirez is now ready to return to the ring and contend against the heavy hitters of the division.


“I am ready to take over the cruiserweight division and prove to myself that I can add another championship belt to my resume,” said Gilberto Ramirez. “I want to thank all of my fans, Golden Boy, DAZN, the WBA, and my entire team that have supported me through this season of change. We are ready to face a hungry opponent in Joe Smith Jr. who is used to being an underdog. I know both of us wanted this fight at light heavyweight a few years back, but I’m glad we can make it now. See you all in Las Vegas!”

The iron-willed, former light heavyweight world champion Joe Smith Jr. is known to prove his critics wrong, becoming the WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion after giving an unyielding boxing performance when he fought Maxim Vlasov in April 2021. He went on to successfully defend his title against Steve Geffrard in January 2022 and then succumbed to Artur Beterbiev in a massive unification fight on June 18. In addition, Smith has one of the best resumes in boxing that includes victories over former undisputed champion and boxing legend, Bernard Hopkins, former world champion, Eleider Alvarez, and title contenders Jessie Hart and Andrzej Fonfara. Having begun his career in 2009, he has earned the respect of the “common man” and will also be going up to cruiserweight for the first time to face Ramirez.


“It feels great to return to the ring in a big way on October 7 against ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez,” said Joe Smith Jr. “I was having a rough time this year, then we tragically lost my brother Alex on top of it all. I miss him and know he will be with me when I step into that ring. He was always proud of me and he would be happy to see me back. I can’t wait to show the world the Common Man is back and hope my performance can bring some happiness and inspiration back to my family.”


“‘For almost 15 years, ‘Zurdo’ beat everyone who stepped into the ring, becoming a world champion and the most feared man in the Super Middleweight division in the process,” said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya. “But coming off a loss and with a new weight division to conquer, there is a renewed fire in Zurdo’s eyes. I expect an impressive outing and a first step towards a cruiserweight world championship.”

(L-R Star Boxing CEO Joe Deguardia Joe Smith Jr.

Trainer and Manager Gerry and Phil Capobianco)

“We are thrilled to announce the return of Star Boxing’s ‘Common Man,’ Joe Smith Jr. at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas live on DAZN,” said Star Boxing’s CEO Joe DeGuardia. “He and his family have had a rough year, but in quintessential Joe Smith fashion, while there were many fights out there for him, he wanted the biggest and toughest challenge available.  It will once again be Champion vs Champion as two former world champs go head to head in this intriguing fight. This has all the makings of must see action and I personally look forward to watching Joe back in the ring on October 7th.”


‘What an exciting fight this will be between two former World Champions,” said Joseph Markowski, CEO North America, DAZN Group. “Zurdo wanted a tough test, and this one-his first at cruiserweight-vs Smith Jr. is going to be a very difficult fight for him. You will not want to miss it! Tune in October 7th live from the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, broadcast only on DAZN.


More information on event tickets and the complete undercard will be announced in the coming weeks.

About Star Boxing

Star Boxing, Inc. has been in operation since 1992. Founded by Joe DeGuardia, its President and CEO, Star Boxing has worked to produce some of the most exciting and memorable boxing events in recent history. Star has continued to work with and develop a number of very exciting world champions, world-rated contenders and young prospects. Star has consistently brought credibility, integrity, and exciting fights to the boxing industry.


Star Boxing is among the highest regarded and most rapidly expanding boxing organizations in the country. Its premier stature is reinforced by its ability to develop talent and maintain a high profile within the industry and with its broadcast affiliates. Star Boxing regularly stages and televises premium quality boxing matches throughout the world. The swift ascendancy of Star Boxing is largely attributable to the sporting expertise and innovative business vision of the organization’s founder and President, Joe DeGuardia. As the son of a professional prizefighter, DeGuardia can truly boast a lifetime association with the sport of boxing. DeGuardia grew up in the Bronx, learning boxing at his father’s neighborhood boxing gym. He fought his first official bout at the age of nine, and won the Golden Gloves Welterweight crown in 1988, one year before his graduation from law school. Following his admission to the bar, DeGuardia joined the Bronx District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor. He then went on to develop a successful, Bronx-based independent law practice.


Notwithstanding his work as a lawyer, DeGuardia always remained professionally active in the boxing world. This involvement became a full-time dedication in 1990, when he took over management of the Morris Park Boxing Club from his father. In his new capacity as chief operator of the club, DeGuardia transformed the business into one of the busiest boxing gyms in New York, while also using it as a base from which to launch his larger business as a top boxing entrepreneur. Star Boxing, the organization that evolved out of DeGuardia’s broad experience in the boxing industry, works on a flexible business model which enables DeGuardia to develop and promote both exclusive boxing events and boxers, as well as to put together joint-sponsorship events with other major promoters. Thus, there are many different components to his portfolio of promotional ventures. Recently, Star Boxing events have been among the highest grossing, most successful events in boxing, further solidifying its position as one of the most reputable companies in the sport. Among Star’s promoted fighters and events, the Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr. trilogy was one of the most successful trilogies in boxing history, generating over 50 million in revenue. Star Boxing shows have been broadcast on both internationally and nationally on Pay-Per-View, HBO, Showtime, ESPN, HDNet, Telemundo and MSG, as well as on the internet, through collaborative efforts with GoFightLive.TV.


Through his leadership of Star Boxing, DeGuardia has secured a reputation as among the youngest and most dynamic first-tier promoters in the business. In addition to the guidance of DeGuardia, Star has several high-level industry executives, including matchmaker Ron Katz who is widely considered one of the best matchmakers of all time. Star Boxing is also a proud member of the Boxing Promoters Association (BPA), which was formed in 2009, and is made up of over thirty of the top US Promoters. The BPA was the brainchild of DeGuardia, and his efforts in forming the organization were recognized by the fellow BPA Members, who elected DeGuardia President of the Association. Star Boxing will continue with groundbreaking shows and concepts in the years ahead, as it continues its role as an innovative leader in the exciting world of boxing.


About DAZN Group
DAZN Group is one of the fastest growing sports media companies in the world. Headquartered in the UK and with employees in over 25 countries, our businesses touch every aspect of the way fans engage with sports; from production, through to content distribution and commercialization. DAZN Group is home to DAZN, the leading global sport destination, as well as the popular sport portal, DAZN News. DAZN is leading the charge to give sports fans around the world access to sport anytime, anywhere. DAZN guarantees affordable access on most connected devices including smart TVs, set-top boxes, streaming sticks, smartphones, tablets, PCs and game consoles. DAZN is now live in more than 200 countries and territories after first launching in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan in 2016.


DAZN is a leading digital sports platform in Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Japan, Canada, US and the UK.  Its wide range of exclusive content includes top-flight football from the world’s most popular competitions – Bundesliga, English Premier League, J.League, LaLiga, Serie A, and the UEFA Champions League, in addition to the biggest sports from around the world - Formula 1, NFL, NBA, MotoGP and the UFC.  


DAZN is the NFL’s global partner and, from the 2023 season, will be the only place for fans around the world to watch every NFL match. DAZN is a global home for boxing and combat sports through its partnerships with Matchroom Boxing the Professional Fighters League. With the most authentic voice in the sport, DAZN is the only brand that can reach across all markets and audiences cohesively in boxing, unlike any other broadcaster. DAZN is also a global home for Women’s Football with UEFA Women’s Champions League and Finetwork Liga F.  DAZN is adding more and more sport to its platform to create a destination for sports fans.  


DAZN is reimagining the way people enjoy sport. With a single, frictionless platform, sports fans can watch, bet, play, share, socialise, and buy tickets, NFTs and merchandise. Live and on-demand sports content, anywhere, in any language, on any device – only on DAZN.  


DAZN is a global, privately-owned company with employees in over 25 countries. For more information on DAZN, our products, people, and performance, visit  


DAZN is available on most connected devices including smart TVs, set-top boxes, streaming sticks, smartphones, tablets, PCs and game consoles, ensuring that fans have access to ground-breaking rights catalogue and slate of incredible content. In the UK and globally, DAZN can be accessed on Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic Smart TVs and on Games Consoles including Playstation and Xbox. Subscribers also have access to DAZN on their Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast and Apple TV and find the app on their iPhone, iPad, android and mobile.  


ABOUT GOLDEN BOY: Los Angeles-based Golden Boy was established in 2002 by Oscar De La Hoya, the first Hispanic to own a national boxing promotional company. Golden Boy is a media and entertainment brand committed to making fighting entertainment more accessible and affordable. The company’s in-house production team develops creative original programming, holds the exclusive rights to top boxers, and has promoted some of the biggest and highest-grossing events in the history of the sport. Now, Golden Boy is one of the most successful boxing entertainment companies in the world and shapes the future of boxing for fighters and fans alike.

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