Perfect Connection Gilberto
Ramirez & Trainer Julian Chua
Back in February of 2019, World Boxing Organization (WBO)
Super Middleweight Champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez had
made a decision to move up to fight in the light heavyweight
division, and he was searching for a new head trainer.
Ramirez (41-0, 27 KOs) immediately connected with a then
28-year-old Julian Chua, a former amateur boxer who had been
training boxers at Freddie Roach’s famed Wildcard Boxing
Club in Hollywood, California. “Zurdo” and Chua are now 2-0
(2 KOs) and preparing for a mega-fought later this year,
ideally, against undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA)
Super Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11
How Ramirez ended up with Chua as he head trainer isn’t a
typical boxing story. After all, “Zurdo” was the first
Mexican world super middleweight champion, sporting a 29-0
pro record, and only 27 when they first met.
Ramirez’ manager, David Suh, conducted a search to hire
Ramirez’ chief second. He had a list that included some of
the top trainers in the industry, as well as a young,
relatively unknown – at least outside of southern California
– in Chua.
“I don’t know how I got on that list,” a humble Chua said.
“There was going to be a tryout of sorts to determine who
would work with ‘Zurdo.’ We trained together in Long Beach
(where Ramirez was training) and then I met with David for
coffee. He asked if I was interested in becoming the head
trainer. We trained together a little more. He liked the way
I trained, and we got along well. I texted David saying we
liked working together and that I was interested in becoming
his head trainer.
“We clicked right away, and we learned things about each
other and how we liked to train. I study a lot and do a lot
of research of how he had been trained, because I wanted to
help him to improve. I was getting four fighters ready in LA
and “Zurdo” couldn’t go there for sparring. I said I
couldn’t leave these fighters and go to Santa Barbara.
“Zurdo” respected me even more for not jumping ship from
those four fighters for a better opportunity. We still
wanted to work with each other, and ‘Zurdo’ made it work. I
went to Long Beach twice a week, he came to Wildcard three
Ramirez won his light heavyweight debut April 12, 2019, when
Tommy Karpency (29-6-1) was unable to continue after four
rounds, followed last December 18th with a 10th round
stoppage of Alfonso Lopez (32-3) to capture the North
American Boxing Federation (NABF) title.
Chua was trained by Roach when he was an amateur from
Indiana, but when Chua started at Wildcard, Roach’s
assistant Eric Brown became Chua’s mentor. During his
training career at Wildcard West Boxing, known now as
Churchill Boxing in Santa Barbara, Chua has trained several
world champions in boxing and MMA.
The 29-year-old Ramirez, who recently signed an exclusive
promotional contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy
Promotions, is currently ranked No. 3 by the WBA and WBO.
“Zurdo” returns to action July 9th in Los Angeles against
Sullivan Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs).
Whether it’s Bivol, or the other world light heavyweight
champions -- Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith – “Zurdo” and
Chua are preparing to beat the best for Ramirez to wear the
coveted World championship crown in a second division.