Ex-Olympian Jose Ramirez fighting for water rights for San Joaquin Valley

Kevin Iole
Boxing Experts Blog

Anyone who has seen Jose Ramirez fight realizes he is a man of action inside of the ring.

But Ramirez proved on Thursday that he is a man of action outside of it, as well.

The 2012 U.S. Olympian hopped on a bus Thursday and traveled to Sacramento, Calif., to attend a water bond rally designed with members of the California Latino Water Coalition to have desperately needed water released to residents of the drought stricken San Joaquin Valley.

Ramirez, 21, of Avenal, Calif., headlined a benefit fight card called "The Fight for Water," in Lemoore, Calif., in November in a bid to help raise awareness for the need for water. The valley has been plagued by a drought which has devastated its farm-based economy.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently declared it a drought emergency.

Ramirez is the son of an immigrant farmer and understands as well as anyone the desperation situation the area faces. The lack of water has cost it jobs and reduced family income.

"I'll never forget where I come from, and my family was born and raised in Avenal," Ramirez told Yahoo Sports. "My family comes from field workers. The people in this area have supported me so well over the years and I wouldn't have what I have today were it not for my family and the support of the people here. I'll never forget them.

"The area has been devastated by this drought. This is a crisis situation and we need to take action now."

Ramirez and Kings County supervisor Richard Valle headed a contingent of about 100 people who descended upon the Capitol Thursday with the hope of getting water released to the Central California farmers.

Valle praised Ramirez's leadership role in trying to find a solution to the crisis.

"We so greatly appreciate the efforts of Jose Ramirez," Valle told Yahoo Sports. "Not only is he out there fighting for the pride of the San Joaquin Valley, he's also out there fighting for water and the people he cares about back home. He's giving back through his civic duties.

"He takes this water issue very seriously and in Kings County, we appreciate him and his efforts very much."

Ramirez, who was  1-1 in the London Olympics, is 7-0 with five knockouts as a pro. He fights Javier Perez on Feb. 1 in Laredo, Texas.

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