Featherweight Erick Ituarte (19-1-1, 3 KOs) kicks off the 2018 Thompson Boxing schedule with an intriguing matchup against the well tested Jose Ramirez (27-6-2, 16 KOs) on Friday, Feb. 16, from the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif.
The 8-round “Path to Glory” main event holds championship implications, as Ituarte will make the second defense of his NABF Junior title.
Ituarte is in the midst of a 12 fight winning streak that dates back three years. His last win, in November, was a first round destruction of Gustavo Molina.
February’s showdown with Ramirez, who fights out of Mazatlan, Mexico, projects to be a far more difficult assignment. Ramirez is as battle tested as they come, having gone up against world champions Vasyl Lomachenko, Abner Mares, and Oscar Valdez.
“I’m expecting a tough fight there’s no doubt about that,” said Ituarte, who lives and trains in Santa Ana, Calif. “Ramirez doesn’t back down from a challenge and I’ve never been in a boring fight. It’s going to be a back and forth fight and I’m ready for that.”
In the 6-round co-feature, rising featherweight talent Ruben Villa (9-0, 4 KOs) of Salinas, Calif. puts his unblemished record to the test against fellow southpaw and veteran Ruben Tamayo (26-11-4, 18 KOs) of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico.
Villa has enjoyed a stellar start to his career. After turning professional in the second half of 2016, the former back-to-back Golden Gloves champion recorded three wins that year and followed it up with six in 2017. Tamayo, on the other hand, is in a career tailspin having lost seven straight.
“My last two fights have come against veteran boxers,” said the 20-year-old Villa. “Even though Ramirez might not be in his prime anymore, he still knows how to use angles and set traps. I have to fight smart, but also be aggressive. It’s a good challenge for me.”
Villa is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions.
In the 8-round special attraction, free swinging super bantamweight Isaac Zarate (13-3-3, 2 KOs) of San Pedro, Calif. fights Mexico’s Christian Ayala (12-1, 4 KOs). Zarate holds a recent win against former world title challenger Carlos Carlson and routinely spars with WBA titleholder Danny Roman.
Undefeated bantamweight Saul Sanchez (6-0, 4 KOs) of Indio, Calif., who recently signed with Thompson Boxing, gets the toughest challenge of his young career when he takes on veteran Pedro Melo (17-17-2, 8 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico (6-rounds).
Also on the card, bantamweight Mario Hernandez (4-0, 1 KO) of Santa Ana fights the hard charging Francisco Lapizco (8-6, 2 KOs) of Mexico (4-rounds).
Lightweight Ruben Torres (3-0, 3 KOs) of Los Angeles, who earlier this month signed a promotional deal with Thompson Boxing, battles Marco Resendiz (2-1-1) of Mexico in a fight set for 4-rounds.
The “Path to Glory” show opens with lightweight prospect Zhora Hamazaryan (8-0, 6 KOs) of Armenia. An opponent for Hamazaryan will be announced at a later date (4-rounds).
During the event, Thompson Boxing will hold a fundraising raffle for injured boxer Daniel Franco. Franco, who is from nearby Riverside, Calif., suffered a significant brain injury in June when he was knocked out in the eighth round by Jose Haro. Since then, Franco has undergone multiples brain surgeries.
Thompson Boxing will match the total that is raised by the raffle and promoter Ken Thompson respectfully encourages other promoters to help in any way they can. Prizes for the raffle will be announced as the event draws closer.
All fights will be live streamed on TB Presents: Path to Glory via our Facebook page and ThompsonBoxing.com.
The livestream starts at 8:00 p.m. PT / 11:00 p.m. ET with Beto Duran as the blow-by-blow announcer and Steve Kim providing expert color commentary.
“Path to Glory” is presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions and sponsored by Lucas Oil, in association with Everlast.