Gilberto Ramirez starts over against Sullivan Barrera on Friday

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Gilberto Ramirez’s career begins anew against Sullivan Barrera on Friday at Banc of California in Los Angeles (DAZN).

The unbeaten Mexican light heavyweight, a talented boxer-puncher, was a successful super middleweight. He shut out Arthur Abraham to win a world title in 2016 and successfully defending five times before moving up to 175 pounds.

That’s when his career began to stagnate. He left promoter Top Rank and tried to make it on his own, a period in which the COVID-19 pandemic also shut down the sport.

As a result, he has fought just twice since his final 168-pound title defense in December 2018, a fourth-round stoppage of Tommy Karpency in April 2019 and a decision over Alfonso Lopez this past December.

Since the latter fight, Ramirez, 30, has signed a contract with another established promoter – Golden Boy – and feels he’s back on track for a successful run at 175.

“I am happy to be working with Golden Boy Promotions,” he said. “I am grateful for the opportunity. I want to give a great performance and show all my skills. I’m going to give the fans what they want: good fights.”

Ramirez (41-0, 27 KOs) and his handlers didn’t choose a pushover for what amounts to a comeback fight.

Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs) is only 1-2 in his last three fights – with losses to titleholder Dmitry Bivol (TKO 12) and Jesse Hart (UD) – and he’s 39. At the same time, he can be perceived as a solid stepping stone toward an even bigger fight.

And the Cuban knows that he might not get many more opportunities like this one. He’s hungry.

“’Zurdo’ Ramirez has a lot of skills,” Barrera said. “He does of things very well. But I have to do everything necessary to win this fight and earn another title shot. A win will help me get that opportunity.”

Ramirez seems to know what he’s up against.

“I know Sullivan Barrera very well and he knows me,” he said. “We know that each of us always comes well prepared and ready to put on a show. But at the end of the day, I’ll be the one to come out with my hands raised in victory.

“I’m going to come out with a record of 42 wins and 28 knockouts.”

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