Fresno State alumnus and Avenal, California, native Jose Ramirez retained his super lightweight WBC (World Boxing Council) Continental Americas title Friday night against Issouf Kinda, winning by technical knockout after landing a relentless flurry of body shots which forced the referee to stop the fight.
The Valley favorite headlined the Fight for Water 6 at the Save Mart Center, drawing 13,700 people to the arena. Ramirez improved his record to 19-0 and now has 14 knockouts to his name.
The former Bulldog entered the arena to Mariachi music that immediately energized the crowd. The fans stood up and cheered as Ramirez entered with an entourage of a dozen or so.
The slated 10-round fight started fast. Both fighters packed solid, quick punches but mostly stayed defensive. In the second round, Ramirez came out with ferocity but lost his footing at one moment, which the referee scored as a knockdown for Kinda.
Fresno State alumnus and Avenal native boxer Jose Ramirez looks for an opening while Issouf Kinda puts up his hands in defense during the Fight for Water 6 title match at the Save Mart Center on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)
Ramirez disagreed with the call, but it fueled him for the rest of the round. Ramirez started to go after Kinda’s body as chants of “Jose, Jose, Jose” filled the arena.
Round 3 brought more of the same. Ramirez stayed focused on body shots. In Rounds 5 and 6, Ramirez started dictating the pace of the fight, landing solid combinations to Kinda’s body.
Round 6 ended it all. Both fighters came out throwing punches with ferocity. Ramirez finally broke through Kinda’s defense, landing a shot to the side, knocking Kinda down. The crowd was on their feet willing Ramirez to victory.
Kinda got up, but it would soon be over for him. Ramirez rode the momentum of the knockdown, attacking Kinda with a devastating flurry of punches to the body and head, bringing on chants again of “Jose, Jose, Jose.”
Finally, after Ramirez’s attack, the referee got between the fighters and put an end to it, awarding Ramirez with the technical knockout.
Fresno State alumnus and Avenal native boxer Jose Ramirez celebrates after defeating Issouf Kinda to retain his super lightweight WBC Continental Americas title on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, at the Save Mart Center. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)
The undercard featured many great fights. The best one took place immediately before the Ramirez fight.
That bout featured Joe Louie Lopez of Fresno and Quilisto Madera of Stockton. This is the fiercest rivalry in the Valley, with both fighters out for blood. Even at the weigh-in Thursday, the police were needed to keep the two boxers from going after each other.
The two enemies wasted no time, going for the kill from the opening bell. Lopez was the clear fan favorite in his hometown with the crowd chanting for him.
The fight was fairly even throughout but featured a lot of blood. In the second round, Lopez got cut near his left eye, which caused major bleeding and swelling.
Both boxers got great hits in, and every punch to the face splattered blood all over the ring. In the end, it was Lopez’s left eye that made the difference. The swelling affected his vision, which limited his abilities.
Quilisto capitalized and was able to win the fight by unanimous decision, scored 59-53 by each judge. When the fight ended, Lopez and Quilisto embraced each other, showing respect that neither had ever shown the other before.
The Fight for Water 6 was a huge success for Ramirez, and now he is preparing to take the next step in the boxing world. Ramirez soon could be ready to take on a world title fight.