Home Boxing News Rafael Espinoza topples Robeisy Ramirez to become WBO featherweight champion

Rafael Espinoza topples Robeisy Ramirez to become WBO featherweight champion

Rafael Espinoza (right) and Robeisy Ramirez

Newly crowned WBO featherweight champion Rafael ‘El Divino’ Espinoza 24-0 (20) says he knew he needed a late knockdown to clinch victory over now former champion Robeisy Ramirez 13-2 (8) in their fight at Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida on Saturday night.

The six-foot-one Mexican used his length and range to keep Cuban southpaw Ramirez at bay in the early rounds, but the 29-year-old Olympic gold medalist worked his way into the fight. In the fifth round a right hook sent Espinoza to the canvas.

Ramirez remained on top in the middle rounds but by the last quarter of the fight the 29-year-old Espinoza has found his second wind. The champion seemed to wilt late in the fight while the challenger only got stronger, with Espinoza decking Ramirez in the final round.

It was enough for Espinoza to secure the win by majority decision by scores of 113-113, 114-112 and 115-111.

“I didn’t think about anything in here. I just thought about winning. I even asked what round we were in. And I knew that I had to drop him in order to win. I just put my heart into it. I always do that. And thank God it happened,” Espinoza said.

“I think I’ve had a broken foot since the second round. But what kept me on my feet was my daughter, my parents, my wife and my family. I knew that all of Mexico was watching me. And I knew that I had to become a world champion.”

Ramirez thought he did enough to win the fight.

“I did was everything I always do,” Ramirez said. “I listen to my coach Ismael Salas and I put my heart into this fight and I got to give credit to my opponent this evening.

“I thought the fight was already won but he got a second wind. I tried to catch my second wind but I got to give him credit, he came after me, he got that knockdown. I don’t think that should have been the difference but in the end it was and that’s what happened.”

Ramirez said he would welcome the opportunity to get his revenge on Espinoza.

“I would love to have a rematch against him and you know what, at the end of the day he’s a great Mexican warrior,” he said.

“Congratulations to him, I have a lot of respect for Mexican boxers and I’ll fight him or any Mexican champions out there.”

It was Ramirez’s first loss since his pro debut four years ago. He won the vacant WBO strap with a unaimious decision victory over former WBO super bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe in April last year and successfully defended the title against Satoshi Shimizu in Japan in August.