Friday, June 09, 2023  |


Rick Mirigian pulls off big haul by signing Ruben Villa, Josh Franco, Hector Tanajara & Jonathan Navarro

Jose Ramirez, Rick Mirigian & Robert Garcia
Fighters Network

Rick Mirigian has already done wonders with one fighter, WBC/WBO junior welterweight titlist Jose Ramirez, building him into a primetime name. Just imagine now what the 43-year-old respected fight manager will do with five.

On Wednesday, Mirigian pulled off a huge haul in signing budding southpaw featherweight star Ruben “RV4” Villa, junior welterweight Jonathan “Thunder” Navarro, lightweight Hector “El Finito” Tanajara and WBA “regular” junior bantamweight titlist Joshua “El Profesor” Franco.

Mirigian’s timing couldn’t be better.

Villa (18-0, 5 knockouts) and Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) are both 23, while Navarro (17-0, 9 KOs) and Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) are each 24.

Mirigian signed Villa to a long-term advisory deal, while Navarro, Tanajara and Franco were signed to long-term managerial deals.

Every time Ramirez, from Avenal, California, fights in the Fresno, California area, it’s like a primetime event. For Ramirez’s WBC title defense against Jose Zepeda in February 2019, Save Mart Arena was sold out (14,100 seat capacity). Mirigian also helped build Gabriel Flores Jr.

Ruben Villa IV. Photo by Amanda Westcott-SHOWTIME

Mirigian has big plans for Ruben Villa in California. (Photo by Amanda Westcott-SHOWTIME)

Villa, a potential superstar, is The Ring’s No. 8-ranked featherweight. He’s ranked No. 3 by the WBO and should face the winner of the Jessie Magdaleno-Emanuel Navarrete October 17 fight in Las Vegas for the vacant WBO featherweight title.

Villa, from Salinas, California, will remain with Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions, while Mirigian has plans for Navarro, Franco and Tanajara, who all have Texas roots, to remain with Golden Boy Promotions.

“We want to work out something with Golden Boy to feature these guys in Texas, and they have some great backgrounds, and Ruben is a special kid and a really incredible fighter who I have big plans for, too,” Mirigian said. “This is an exciting time for me, and I have great plans for all of them. I’m grateful and blessed for this opportunity from them all. I want to do a homecoming in Texas and also promote them in California in a big way.

“I always wanted to work with Golden Boy. Golden Boy has treated Navarro, Franco and Tanajara really well and we want to continue that relationship to create a unique setting for them like I have with Jose in Fresno.

“I’m excited to work with these guys, with Thompson, Banner and Golden Boy. We all have great plans ahead for these guys.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/ since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.



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