Robeisy Ramirez and Naoya Inoue Heading for 2024 Clash?
To many in the boxing world, unified junior featherweight champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) appears nearly unbeatable from 118-126 pounds. The reigning WBO featherweight champion, Robeisy Ramirez (13-1, 8 KOs), is a fighter who would love a crack at the Japanese superstar. Does Ramirez stand the best chance of toppling Inoue?
After a decorated amateur career that included capturing two Olympic gold medals, things got off to an inauspicious start for Ramirez. He lost his first fight in the pro ranks to Adan Gonzalez in December 2018.
Admitting he needed to prepare and be more focused, Ramirez rededicated himself after linking up with the well-respected Ismael Salas. The career of Ramirez has flourished since.
In April 2023, he won the vacant WBO featherweight title with a decisive victory over Isaac Dogboe. Ramirez’s first defense of the title was an impressive fifth-round stoppage over Satoshi Shimizu in July 2023.
WHAT MAKES HIM STAND OUT
With his Cuban amateur background, Ramirez is a skilled fighter with excellent defense. But under the tutelage of Salas, the 29-year-old Cuban lefty has taken his game to another level.
Ramirez has become a complete fighter. He’s equally good at fighting on the inside and boxing from a distance. One of the more impressive aspects of Ramirez’s game is his ability to break fighters down to the body.
NOT A PERFECT FIGHTER
Inoue is a force in the ring. The junior featherweight champion is one of the most dynamic fighters in the sport, with one-punch power in either hand. He also has tremendous hand speed. He often intimates opponents with his offensive arsenal and explosive punching prowess.
But if there is a weakness to Inoue, it’s his defense. It was the case in his first fight against Nonito Donaire in November 2019, where Inoue was hurt and suffered a fractured orbital bone en route to a hard-earned unanimous decision win.
At times, Inoue will leave himself open when in attack mode. He also fights square-up with his chin in the air on occasion. Ramirez is very accurate with his punches and does an excellent job at timing fighters as they come in.
In a possible matchup against Inoue, the featherweight champion could have his share of success baiting The Monster and catching with precise and sharp counterpunches. He also has the physical strength to muscle around the Japanese superstar in close quarters.
CHANCES OF IT HAPPENING?
A battle occurring between Ramirez and Inoue is a definite possibility. Both happen to be promoted by Bob Arum. The CEO of Top Rank has visions of them facing each other at some point. Seeds for the potential fight are being planted. Ramirez’s win over Shimizu happened on the undercard of Inoue’s eighth-round stoppage over Stephen Fulton to win the unified junior featherweight titles.
Ramirez has an upcoming title defense against Rafael Spinoza on December 9 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Inoue fights for the undisputed junior featherweight championship against Marlon Tapales on December 26 in Tokyo, Japan.
Should Ramirez and Inoue take care of business, look for Arum to start working behind the scenes to make an eventual Ramirez versus Inoue match at 126. It would be one of the better fights in the lower-weight divisions. If there’s any fighter who has a legitimate chance to conquer The Monster, Ramirez is at the top of the list.