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Gilberto Ramirez returns to action December 18, will co-promote fight against Alfonso Lopez

Gilberto Ramirez. Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Fighters Network

After a long layoff, and securing his release from Top Rank, former WBO world super middleweight titleholder Gilberto Ramirez will finally return to action. Ramirez will face fringe contender Alfonso Lopez December 18, it was announced Monday evening.

The 10-round light heavyweight bout will take place Galveston Island Convention Center in Galveston, Texas. In the co-feature, heavyweight contender Michael Hunter II will square off against Chauncey Welliver in a 10-round bout.

Both fights will air live on FITE TV (PPV, $24.99).

Ramirez and Lopez, both of whom are co-promoters of the card, have not fought in over a year.

Ramirez (40-0, 26 knockouts), who resides in Mazatlan, Mexico, has not fought since forcing Tommy Karpency to remain on his stool after round 4 on April 12 of last year. The fight was his first as a light heavyweight after defending the WBO super middleweight title five times, including twice against contender Jesse Hart.

The 29-year-old reportedly attempted to buy out his promotional contract with Top Rank as early as January, but was given his release in July. Earlier this year, the WBO invited Ramirez to participate in a four-person tournament for their version of the 175-pound world title, but Ramirez declined the invitation.

Ramirez is hoping a win over Lopez will push his career back into contender status.

“I’m looking forward to hosting my first fight and appreciate all the support and love I’ve received from everybody,” said Ramirez, who is trained by Julian Chua, Joel Flores, and Chris Wong. “I know it’s been a long road to return, but I feel great having full control of my career and being able to fight whenever, wherever, and however, I want. I feel better than ever to step back in the ring.”

Lopez (32-3, 25 KOs), who resides in Huntsville, Texas, defeated gatekeeper Denis Grachev by unanimous decision in his last bout on November 16. The 38-year-old has won his last 10 bouts since losing back-to-back decisions to Justin Williams and Dyah Ali Davis, respectively, in 2012.

Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs) fought to a split-decision draw against Alexander Povetkin in his last bout on December 7. Prior to the fight against Povetkin, Hunter had won his previous six bouts since suffering his only loss at the hands of Oleksandr Povetkin in April 2017.

The 32-year-old, who resides in Las Vegas, is ranked No. 8 by The Ring.

Welliver (57-13-5, 23 KOs) last fought on August 28, losing by knockout in round 4 to unbeaten prospect Cassius Chaney. Welliver, who resides in Spokane, Washington, had won his previous two bouts after losing five in a row over a span of almost two and a half years.

The 37-year-old turned pro almost two months after his 18th birthday in June 2001.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing


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