Mexican super-middleweight Gilberto Ramirez positioned himself for a title shot and greater opportunities Friday by cruising to a unanimous decision over Gevorg Khatchikian of the Netherlands.
Ramirez (33-0) swept all 10 rounds (100-90) on two judges’ scorecards and was given a 99-91 advantage by the other judge over Khatchikian (23-2) at The Cosmopolitan Hotel.
By winning the bout and retaining his position as the World Boxing Organization’s mandatory challenger, Ramirez is next in line for the winner of Saturday’s title bout between champion Arthur Abraham and challenger Martin Murray.
The winner will either have to fight Ramirez or lose the belt.
Ramirez shrugged off some flush punches by Khatchikian in the early rounds — including a third-round shot that backed up Ramirez — and responded by wobbling the Dutch fighter later in the round.
Ramirez then went to work pounding Khatchikian’s body, the loser saying, “He’s busy, active; I couldn’t find him.”
Said Ramirez: “I tried to knock him out. I did my best. He moved better tonight than he did on the videotape I watched.
“I’m ready to fight for the world title.”
Bob Arum, Ramirez’s promoter, made sure to invite unbeaten middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin’s trainer, Tom Loeffler, and promoter Abel Sanchez to Friday’s fight to get a preview of what could be a future bout.
“Ultimately, the fight we want to make is Golovkin going up in weight fighting Ramirez,” Arum said.
For now, the focus is the belt.
“I don’t care if Abraham fights him or not,” Arum said. “He either does, or we fight someone else for the title. The WBO said that at their convention. It’s sealed in blood. No excuses. Mandatory.”
While Golovkin worked hard to position himself to fight the winner of Saturday’s Miguel Cotto-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez bout, Cotto declined to pay middleweight title sanctioning fees and Alvarez hasn’t expressed serious interest in fighting Golovkin next.
“We could go right from winning the title to fighting Golovkin. Ramirez wants to fight Golovkin,” Arum said. “Maybe the middle of 2016. … I don’t think ‘Canelo’ will fight Golovkin. ‘Canelo’ has no chance at Golovkin. None. Zero. Too small. My guy’s bigger.
“So Golovkin can go up to super-middleweight to find competition.”
Loeffler said that Ramirez has “got a long jab and good power. … He dominated the guy.”
Arum said he’s planning a big promotional campaign to boost the name recognition of Ramirez, who trains in Hermosa Beach.
Earlier, in the first TruTv bout, Riverside lightweight Saul Rodriguez needed only 2 minutes, 6 seconds to knock out Texan Ivan Najera.
Rodriguez (19-0-1, 14 knockouts) first knocked down Najera with a big right and then a left to the face after immediately causing his right eye to swell.
Najera, who failed to make weight for the 130-pound bout, then was decked by a powerful three-punch combination highlighted by a hard left that he said sent a jolt up his arm.
“He’s the real deal, the next big thing out of my gym,” said Rodriguez’s trainer, Robert Garcia.