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L.A.'s Julian Ramirez taking HBO boxing debut seriously

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Unbeaten Los Angeles featherweight Julian Ramirez is stepping up in class Saturday -- in front of the HBO cameras – for a showdown with fellow Southland unbeaten Abraham Lopez at StubHub Center.

“This puts whoever wins up there for a world title,” Ramirez said Wednesday at a public workout in Carson. “It’s a dream come true. After seeing everyone for so long fight on HBO, working so hard myself to make it to the top, now Abraham and I will meet in a make-or-break type fight.”

The bout precedes Saturday’s main event with World Boxing Council super-featherweight champion Francisco Vargas making his first title defense against veteran countryman Orlando Salido.

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Ramirez (16-0, eight knockouts) is the 23-year-old nephew of late world champion Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez. He’s a prized prospect in Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions stable who has shown himself to be a skilled boxer willing to hit and able to evade.

Ramirez’s days of non-televised bouts at StubHub, and headlining Belasco Theater and Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio could be over with a victory over La Puente’s Lopez (20-0-1, 15 KOs).

Lopez accepted the date after Santa Ana’s Ronny Rios and Jayson Velez balked at the assignment.

“I want to dominate [Lopez], either by out-boxing him or knocking him out,” Ramirez said. “I’ve done all the hard work. I don’t go into a fight worried or nervous. I’ve fought so many guys in the amateurs. I’ve seen Lopez in gyms, have talked to him. He’s a good guy. But now it’s business.”

The seriousness of that business convinced Ramirez to hire former bantamweight world champion Wayne McCullough of Northern Ireland as his trainer. McCullough was taught by the late legendary cornerman Eddie Futch.

“I’ve liked him from when I first saw him,” McCullough said. “He has stuff to learn, but we’ve taught him the method Eddie Futch taught me: defense, blocking, slipping. I’ve got him sitting down on his punches more.

“He hits hard. First time I worked the mitts, I told him, ‘You hit a lot harder than your record shows. Harder than I did.’ He’s been hurting the guys in sparring and hopefully this fight he’ll hit even harder.”

Ramirez missed weight before his Jan. 29 unanimous-decision triumph over Christopher Martin at the Belasco, but he reported Wednesday that he’s on weight and McCullough said the strides in discipline should prove to be the differences over Lopez.

“Lopez does things good and bad and the things he does wrong … we’re going to put our stuff together and hurt him to the body and the head,” McCullough said. “I know how to dissect fighters from Eddie. That makes the fight a lot simpler.

“Julian knows HBO is a world stage, that he’s got to make the most of it. The boxing world is like that. I’ve told him, ‘Go out there and show your talent. Win this fight, you’ll fight for a championship and set yourself up for life.’

“Otherwise, get a day job.”


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