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Boxing | International

Jose Ramirez © Getty Images

Ramirez defends WBC super lightweight belt



Iconic trainer Freddie Roach guided Jose Ramirez to the World Boxing Council super lightweight world title, but it will be Robert Garcia in the champion's corner as Ramirez takes on Danny O'Connor on Saturday.

Ramirez signed with Roach after representing the United States at the 2012 London Olympics in a partnership that produced 22 straight professional wins – 16 knockouts – and a world title with his defeat of fellow American Amir Imam in New York on March 17.

After that fight however, Ramirez joined forces with Garcia, believing he wasn't a high enough priority with the high-profile Roach.

Despite the upheaval, he goes in as an overwhelming favourite in front of home fans in Fresno, California, against a challenger who brings a record of 30-3 with 11 knockouts to his first world title fight.

"I feel like I have a responsibility as a world champion, so that responsibility helps me stay focused and grounded," Ramirez said, adding that he hopes it's a springboard to bigger things in the 140-pound division.

"This fight will only lead to bigger fights. It's another step to fighting the big fights. I want to fight all of the champions, but I have to take care of business July 7 against Danny O'Connor first. I am excited to come home and defend my title."

Garcia said fans will see little change in Ramirez.

"This is our first fight working together and I don't want Jose to change much," Garcia said. "This fight will be similar to what people have seen. I think the fans will start to notice the adjustments we have worked on after our second training camp together. We will have more time to work.

"We have to put pressure on O'Connor and we have to go to the body. Those are two things that Jose has been very good at during his whole career."



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