Jose Ramirez Defeats Amir Imam;
Grabs Vacant WBC Super Lightweight Strap
By Luis "The Beast" Cadiz
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey
On many levels this boxing event promised to be a special
and memorable one, at least for me personally. On paper you
have the main event pitting the undefeated Jose Ramirez
(21-0, 16KO) against Amir “Young Master” Imam (21-1, 18KO)
and a co-feature bout where Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk
(14-0, 12KO) will look to hammer out a win over Mehdi Amar
Plus three young talents of my adopted homeland of Puerto
Rico will look to improve their records and careers with
impressive wins on the undercard. Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz
(22-0, 14KO) will look to continue undefeated and on course
to a world title in the Super Featherweight division. Jose
“Sniper” Pedraza (22-1, 12KO) is looking to bounce back from
losing both his I.B.F. Super Featherweight world title and
undefeated record, in his last title defense over one year
ago to Gervonta Davis, and get back to world title
contingency form. Finally Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo (23-0,
15KO), a one time “Hot Prospect” on the rise, will look to
recover lost luster from his own personal hurricanes and get
back to the privileged position he once held.
Hurricane Maria may have hit the island, but Verdejo’s first
hurricane gust of wind came in the form of an accident he
suffered on a motorcycle, jeopardizing both his health and
career. To add insult to injury, he allegedly continued to
use the motorcycle, not heeding advice from family, friends
and members of his team to avoid potentially dangerous
The whirlwind continued when in his fight back from
recuperation he fought Oliver Flores (27-3-2, 17KO) and
though Verdejo walked away with a unanimous decision win,
the southpaw Flores chipped away at “El Diamante”, making
him look vulnerable at times. This will all take place in
New York City, my birthplace, at Madison Square Garden, the
Mecca of Boxing. I will cover the rise of three of Puerto
Rico’s native sons on their quest to becoming world
Memorable for me indeed.
Main Event: 12 Rounds
Vacant W.B.C. Super Lightweight World Championship
Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) Vs. Amir “Young Master” Imam
(21-1, 18 KOs)
Tense 1st round between Amir Imam and Jose Ramirez, Imam
sneaking in a short uppercut on the inside while Jose
responded with a hard right moments later. Imam’s defensive
bobbing and weaving and constant twitching movements, met by
Ramirez’s continued pressure made for interesting rounds two
through four. The moments in this fight that Imam could
maintain his jab, he complicated the bout for Ramirez by
keeping him at bay. But once Ramirez would get his opponent
within range, he would smother Imam, maneuver him to the
ropes and tee off with bombs in rounds five and six.
Jose’s left hook proved effective as the “Young Master” Imam
was visibly shaken and stirred in round seven. A slugfest
ensued in round eight as both fighters threw caution to the
wind and had vicious exchanges, Jose getting in his share of
the action and more. It was then literal head to head action
in the ninth round as the crowd roared. The systematic
breakdown of the “Young Master” began in the championship
rounds ten and eleven at the hands of the “Grand Master”
trainer Freddie Roach’s pupil, Jose Ramirez.
Battered, bruised and bloodied, Imam finished on his feet
but was badly rocked in the twelfth and final round. With a
Unanimous Decision win, Jose Ramirez won the vacant W.B.C.
Super Lightweight world championship title and preserved his
undefeated record, moving up to 22-0 with 16KOs.
Co - Feature Event: 12 Rounds
Interim W.B.C. Light Heavyweight World Championship
Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) Vs. Mehdi Amar
(34-5-2, 16 KOs)
The feel of this fight was that Mehdi Amar wouldn’t last
long and that Oleksandr Gvozdyk would be steamrolling the
Frenchman sooner than later. Well, for the first three
rounds Mehdi was aggressive, gave Oleksandr angles, applied
pressure and had decided not to be easy pickings for his
But in the fourth round “The Nail” Gvozdyk began combining
his punches better and had Mehdi up against the ropes more
often. Rounds five and six had Oleksandr picking his spots
which created a slight lull in the action. Then in the
seventh round there were some violent exchanges where Mehdi
proved to have a solid chin and that he can take a punch.
During the eighth and ninth rounds Gvozdyk used distance to
connect and build up his lead, then move avoiding Mehdi
The championship rounds ten and eleven had good see saw
action, with “The Nail” getting the better of the exchanges.
The twelfth and final round had both the Ukrainian and
Frenchman hurting each other as Gvozdyk had Mehdi stumbling
with a right to the head but moments later the Frenchman
responded with a left hook that stunned Gvozdyk.
In the end, Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk won a Unanimous
Decision and filled the W.B.C. Interim Light Heavyweight
world championship title and held on to his undefeated
record improving to 15-0 with 12 KOs.
10 Rounds - Lightweight
Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) Vs. Antonio
Lozada Jr. (38-2, 32 KOs)
This was supposed to have been a “good” comeback fight for
Verdejo, on paper. Call it ring rust if you will, the first
two rounds were pretty much back and forth action and it
wasn’t until the third round that Felix Verdejo began to
better combine his punches. Antonio Lozada Jr., sensing
Verdejo could be getting into a rhythm, began applying more
pressure to the Puerto Rican in the fourth.
A straight right from the Mexican wobbled Verdejo in the
fifth and the punishment continued in the sixth round as
well. Verdejo would land an occasional shot in the seventh
round to throw Lozada Jr. off track. Great back and forth
action in rounds eight and nine but in the tenth round, the
continued pressure and punishment from the Mexican would
prove to be too much for Verdejo.
A battered Verdejo would hit the canvas, Hurricane Antonio
had wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico’s native son. Both the ref
and doctor call a halt to the hostilities at 2min:37sec of
the tenth and final round. At the moment the fight was
stopped, Verdejo was ahead by a slight margin on two of
three cards. Antonio Lozada Jr. more than just improved his
record to 39-2 with 33KOs, he blemished his foe’s undefeated
record with its first loss and stripped some of the luster
off of “El Diamante” Verdejo’s boxing career, which now
reads, 23-1 with 15KOs.
10 Rounds - Super Featherweight
North American Boxing Organization Title (N.A.B.O. Regional
Christopher “El Pitufo” Díaz (22-0, 14 KOs) Vs. Braulio
Rodriguez (19-2, 17 KOs)
Christopher “El Pitufo” Diaz improved to 23-0 with 15KOs
with a TKO win in the fourth round. It seems that Braulio
Rodriguez, now 19-3 with 17KOs, suffered an injury to his
right arm and the bout was stopped at the :28sec mark of the
fourth round. “El Pitufo”, which literally translates to
“The Smurf” is singing “LA-LA-LA-LA” all the way to his
first world title shot.
8 Rounds - Lightweight
Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (22-1, 12 KOs) Vs. Jose Luis Rodriguez
(26-11-1, 14 KOs)
This was Jose “Sniper” Pedraza’s first fight at lightweight
and his first fight in over a year. He’s coming off a loss
where he lost both his I.B.F. Super Featherweight World
Title and his undefeated record at the hands of fellow
undefeated fighter Gervonta Davis.
I spoke with Pedraza after his fight and he stated that he
used the time off to recoup and regroup his boxing career.
He felt good in the fight against Jose Luis Rodriguez, who
fell to 26-12-1, 14KOs, and understands that he will be
ready now at lightweight for a future world title shot.
6 Rounds - Super Bantamweight
Jose Gonzalez (8-0-2, 2 KOs) Vs. Adan González (3-1-2, 2
Fan friendly fight that was left as a swing bout. It was the
last fight of the night so not many fans were present to
witness the entertaining bout. Jose Gonzalez won a Unanimous
Decision and improved to 9-0-2, 2KOs.
4 Rounds - Super Featherweight
Joseph Adorno (5-0, 5 KOs) Vs. Ivan Gil de LaMadrid (3-2, 0
Fast work for Joseph Adorno as he improved 6-0 with 6KOs
with a TKO Win in 2min:01sec of the very first round.
8 Rounds - Featherweight
Special St. Patrick Day Attraction
Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KOs) Vs. David Berna (15-2, 14 KOs)
This bout wasn’t much of an attraction as Michael Conlan,
from Belfast Ireland, destroyed David Berna, from Budapest
Hungary within two rounds. Michael Conlan won by TKO as the
ref stops the fight at 1min of the second round and all the
Irish fans went wild.
Happy St. Patty’s Day!!!