José Ramírez will not face Danny O’Connor tomorrow night in a title defense at the Save Mart Center.
The match was cancelled earlier today.
Ramirez, the undefeated 22-0 (16 knockouts) WBC champion, has promoted his return to the Central Valley for the main event scheduled to be televised on ESPN through Top Rank Promotions since winning the super lightweight title in March.
“He was having to struggle to make weight and became dehydrated. He is in no condition to fight tomorrow night,” said Top Rank leader Bob Arum amid jeers from fans at the public event held at Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold north of Fresno.
“Look, this happens. The kid was trying, the kid loses a pay day, everybody is disappointed, but we have to go on. At any event, the doctor has said he is in no condition to fight tomorrow.”
O’Connor, also a fire fighter from Framingham, Massachusetts, is said to be hospitalized at Fresno Regional Medical Center. O’ Connor is ranked No. 13 by the World Boxing Council. He’s 30-3 with 11 knockouts.
Several boxing enthusiasts would have wanted Ramírez, who defeated Amir Imam for the title, to face an opponent with a higher ranking.
This would have been the first defense of the title for Ramírez, 25, in the scheduled 12-round main event billed ‘Protecting Home: José Ramírez’ and featured numerous undercard bouts, such as Gabriel Flores Jr., who signed at age 16 with Top Rank Promotions several years ago, and Las Vegas heavyweight Andy Ruiz (30-1, 20 KOs). A total of 9 bouts with Ramirez-O’Connor as the featured fight were scheduled.
Flores is an 18-year-old prospect from Stockton with an 8-0 (5 KOs) record.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas, who represented Lithuania in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and Juan Carlos Abreu, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will assume the main event role for the NABF (North American Boxing Federation) welterweight title. Abreu is 21-3-1; Kavaliauskas is undefeated at 19-0 with 16 knockouts.
“I’m very disappointed. Very shocked; never been in this position before. I want to say I’m very sorry for all the fans who bought the tickets. Hopefully they’ll still come out still come out tomorrow night and support the fights that are still happening,” said Ramirez, who made the required weight at 139.4.
Ramírez would have had Robert García, his new trainer, in his corner tomorrow night. For nearly four years, Ramírez was trained by Freddie Roach.
Nothing official was mentioned with regard to any fans requesting refunds.
“So José, we’re looking for the next available date this summer to put José in a title fight. You can boo all you want, but the most important thing is the health and safety of these young men,” said Arum.