By Dan Ambrose: Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez says he wants to fight for a world title in 2019 against either IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev or WBC champion Oleksander Gvozdyk. Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) says his promoters at Top Rank have told him that he’ll be fighting in September. He says it could be against the unbeaten Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs).

There’s talk of Top Rank putting together a unification fight between Beterbiev and Gvozdyk for the fall. Whether that’s a fight that will come before Ramirez’s title shot or after is unknown. It’s obviously a more interesting match-up.

Ramirez, 28, is an excellent fighter, but he’s belt-less at the moment. He gave up his World Boxing Organization super middleweight belt when he moved up to 175 to fight for the titles in this weight division.

Ramirez hoping Gvozdyk accepts fight in September

“My company [Top Rank] told me that it is very likely that I will fight in September,” said Ramirez to ESTO. “They advised me about the possibility of fighting Oleksandr Gvozdyk. This would be a great opportunity and hopefully he and his people accept. I’m sure the fans would enjoy it. I’m preparing myself for either of them. The objective is to be world champion this year and we are sure that we will achieve it.”

Ramirez has had one fight against Tommy Karpency since moving up to the light heavyweight division last April. Karpency (29-7-1, 18 KOs) was no match for Ramirez in losing by a fourth round knockout on the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Anthony Crolla undercard at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Ideally, Ramirez needs more experience against some of the talented light heavyweight contenders before he challenges Beterbiev or Gvozdyk for their titles. Those guys are big punchers, and they’ve been fighting in the 175 pound weight class since they turned pro.

Top Rank should let Ramirez get a little more time adjusted to the weight class before they match him against Beterbiev or Gvozdyk for the title. If Ramirez gets beaten, he doesn’t have anywhere to go. He’s too big to fight at 175, and not powerful enough to fight at cruiserweight. This is it for Ramirez. If he doesn’t fit in at 175, he’s going to wind up as just another contender.

Ramirez’s defense will be a problem at 175

With Ramirez’s leaky defense, he’s not going to last long getting hit hard by Beterbiev and Gvozdyk. Ramirez hasn’t improved with his defense in the last few years. His fights against Jesse Hart were grueling affairs in which he took a lot of damage. A better move for Ramirez would be to challenge WBA ‘regular’ light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol for his title. Bivol isn’t a big puncher, so would only need to worry about his boxing skills.