Josh Taylor vs Jose Ramirez is the incredible undisputed fight happening this weekend which will make you forget about the Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury mess
The sport of boxing was dealt a significant blow this week as the planned undisputed heavyweight title showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury was plunged into major doubt.
Deontay Wilder’s arbitration victory now means that Fury will likely face him next, while AJ will probably have to defend against mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk.
The most lucrative and highly anticipated bout in the sport seems to be off the table for the time being.
However, this Saturday night there just so happens to be another elite, four-belt fight to look forward to.
Josh Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) is Scotland’s WBA and IBF super-lightweight world champion, and he is set to unify all four belts against America’s WBC and WBO champion Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs).
As the heavyweights have proved, undisputed clashes don’t come around very often in boxing and this one at 140lbs has been years in the making.
Taylor’s rapid ascent through the ranks began when he turned pro in 2015.
In just his sixth pro fight he won the Commonwealth title by beating Dave Ryan and, not even a full year later, he conquered Ohara Davies in a grudge match.
From there he progressed to a fringe world level contest against Viktor Postol in 2018 which propelled him into the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
In 2019, Taylor conquered all before him in this competition – taking Ivan Baranchyk’s IBF title before unifying against WBA champion Regis Prograis.
“It’s been pretty unbelievable to be honest,” Taylor told talkSPORT.com when asked about his career progression.
“It’s been amazing, it’s been brilliant, it’s been a rapid rise to the top of the game.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved, but it’s time to forget about what I’ve achieved and look towards what I’m now looking achieve, which is gonna be unbelievable.
“When I win this fight it’s gonna be a massive piece of history.
“It’s massive for me and personally I can’t wait to get in and get going.”
While Taylor was fast-tracked to the top, Ramirez took a more standard route.
The Mexican-American turned pro in 2012 after competing at the London Olympics.
He slowly progressed through the levels before defeating Amir Imam for the vacant WBC belt in 2018.
He then had the option to enter the WBSS tournament alongside Taylor, Baranchyk and Prograis, but Taylor recalled: “He didn’t, he chose not to.
“I knew straight away that either him or his management don’t fully believe in him.
“They took the easy option to do a couple of what they thought was gonna be easy fights.”
Ramirez’s three most recent bouts tell the story of him as a fighter at world level.
The first came against Jose Zepeda in 2019 – a close, contentious majority decision, which some believed he was fortunate to win.
The second was a sensational display as he unified by knocking out Maurice Hooker in emphatic fashion within six rounds.
And the third saw him face Postol, two years after Taylor beat him, winning another a close, contentious decision.
“They obviously took the Postol fight thinking it was gonna be an easy fight,” Taylor reflected.
“I watched it back the other day, I actually thought Postol won it. I thought he was very unfortunate not to get that decision.
“He boxed Jose Zepeda and I thought he was beat in that fight as well.
“There’s been a couple of performances that are quite shaky performances.”
Regarding Ramirez’s unification win over Hooker, Taylor added: “Listen, it was a good fight, he done well, but I’m no Maurice Hooker.
“I’m a completely different fighter from Maurice Hooker, different style, different everything.
“He done well, fair play to him and put on a good performance. All I can say is well done.
“But going off his last performances, they’ve not been great.”
After winning the WBSS tournament, Taylor inked a promotional deal with Top Rank – who also promote Ramirez – and now the undisputed fight is set for Saturday night.
In the current four-belt era, very few fighters have been able to call themselves undisputed. None from these shores have accomplished it yet.
The only Scot ever to achieve the feat is the legendary lightweight Ken Buchanan who held both major titles back in 1971, when boxing’s sanctioning body picture was far less convoluted.
Buchanan is now 75 and will be excitedly hoping his friend Taylor can emulate his glory.
Taylor concluded by explaining his emotional goal: “It’s a massive motivation for me to become Scotland’s first undisputed four-belt world champion.
“The first Scot to do it since Ken Buchanan, who’s a massive hero of mine.
“It’s a massive, massive motivation for me to come back with the belts and go back and see Kenny to tell him that I’m just like him.”
Josh Taylor was interviewed as he launched a brand partnership with German Doner Kebab.