Skip to content

Boxing/MMA |
Can Arsen Goulamirian, Gilberto Ramirez deliver memorable cruiserweight title clash?

‘Zurdo’ Ramirez will attempt to become the heaviest Mexican champion of all time when he challenges Armenia’s Goulamirian for the WBA belt on Saturday night in Inglewood

Undefeated WBA cruiserweight champion Arsen Goulamirian (27-0, 19 KOs) enters his debut fight in the U.S. as an underdog to challenger Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) on Saturday night in Inglewood. (Photos by Getty Images)
Undefeated WBA cruiserweight champion Arsen Goulamirian (27-0, 19 KOs) enters his debut fight in the U.S. as an underdog to challenger Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) on Saturday night in Inglewood. (Photos by Getty Images)

Almost all fight watchers have bouts they granularly remember, including, sometimes crucially, where they were when they saw it happen.

The best ones linger forever like it was yesterday. That’s because they don’t come around so often – not in the way that memorialized sights and sounds of Arturo Gatti fighting Micky Ward for the first time, or Mike Tyson chomping on Evander Holyfield still feel vibrant years later.

There are many circumstances under which boxing delivers these charged moments. It can manifest during wall-to-wall, toe-to-toe action. The sport still finds ways to shock the conscience. From a crowd roaring comeback, blood lustful destruction, to whatever the story is, certain matchups stick well beyond the next weekend.

As rare as these instances are, Oscar de la Hoya is teasing such a night for the WBA cruiserweight world championship on Saturday at the YouTube Theater.

“I can assure you it’s going to be one of those fights where you will probably remember where you were at when you were watching it,” said the head of Golden Boy Promotions, who won 10 world titles in six divisions.

“Probably” is doing a lot of heavy lifting, but not as much as Arsen Goulamirian and Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez have to do to make De La Hoya a prophet.

Undefeated at 27-0, with 19 knockouts, the 36-year-old Goulamirian enters his debut fight in the U.S. as an underdog to the challenger, Ramirez, who in 2016 became the first Mexican to win a world title at 168 pounds, which he retained five times.

In 2022, Ramirez (45-1, 30 KOs) fell short on points at 178 pounds against undefeated WBA light heavyweight title-holder Dmitry Bivol.

Walking around at 215 pounds, the cruiserweight limit of 200 suits the 32-year-old native of Mazatlan.

“It will be an amazing fight,” said Ramirez, who is attempting to become the heaviest Mexican-born champion of all time. “I am ready. He is ready. We will bring a really good show.”

Born in Armenia and raised in France, Goulamirian’s journey to his American debut features in his only other trip to Los Angeles, in 2016, when he started training with Abel Sanchez, the respected boxing coach who worked Gennady Golovkin’s corner for nine years.

Sanchez taught Goulamirian to control his temper in the ring.

“When I came to Big Bear the first time I wanted to just punch, punch, punch but he gave me correction in the ring,” the WBA champion said. “My style. My position. Everything. He changed me. I am a warrior in the ring. I want war. But more intelligent.”

The long road also took him to Cuba in 2008, where he received the nickname “Feroz” – “ferocious” – while sparring.

The path to the New World saw opponents retire on him or walk away from their titles for health reasons. He had three dates on a Don King promotion that fell through. He lost a fight after testing positive for COVID in 2021. A title defense against Ireland’s Tommy McCarthy, set for last September, was canceled due to a lawsuit between the promoter and the French mass media company that was supposed to televise the event.

“Nobody knows cruiserweight in America,” said Goulamirian, who has not fought outside a French-speaking part of the world.

Proficient in five languages (English, French, Armenian, Russian and German … plus a little Spanish, at least enough to understand Sanchez in the gym), Goulamirian is intent on proving something to everyone no matter where they are.

Eventually, the entirety of the WBA cruiserweight championship belonged to one man, Goualamirian, who can add to his status in Inglewood.

“Defending your world title and fighting for the first time here in the U.S. is a big deal,” De La Hoya said. “And fighting against Zurdo, who has been inside that ring against world champions, who has been in the limelight in world title fights, will be a great experience for both guys.”

And anyone watching, too, probably.


When: Saturday, 8:30 approximate ring walk

Where: YouTube Theater, Inglewood