The shock Jose Ramirez-Jose Pedraza in discussion on February 5 in Fresno

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Jose Ramirez will likely return home for his first fight as a former champion.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed that plans are underway for a junior fight between Ramirez and Jose Pedraza of Puerto Rico. The fight is not yet final but is slated to take place on February 5 at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, Calif., According to Top Rank officials.

ESPN.com boxing insider Mike Coppinger was the first to break the news.

Ramirez (26-1, 17KOs) will make his first appearance in the ring since a heartbreaking twelve-round loss to Scotsman Josh Taylor (18-0, 13KOs) in their memorable May 22 clash for the undisputed welterweight championship juniors. The loss ended Ramirez’s three-plus-year reign of the WBC title, having managed four defenses, including a July 2019 knockout against Maurice Hooker to win the WBO road belt in Arlington, TX.

The 2012 US Olympian and former titlist will now travel to his home region, assuming a deal is made with Pedraza. Ramirez, a native of Avenal, Calif., Has fought seven times in Fresno so far, including four at the Save Mart Arena, and has proven to be a huge draw at every opportunity. His last fight in the region was in February 2019, securing a narrow victory over top contender Jose Zepeda (35-2, 27KO) as part of his title reign.

Pedraza (29-3, 14KO) became a bubble contender in the junior welterweight division after a brutal introduction in a ten-round loss to Zepeda in September 2019.

Three wins followed for the former lightweight and lightweight junior titlist of Cidra, Puerto Rico, all taking place in Las Vegas. In his last start, Pedraza, who represented Puerto Rico at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, stopped the previously undefeated Julian Rodriguez after the eighth round of their otherwise hotly contested affair on June 12 at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

The winner will serve as a formidable challenger to Taylor, who will face England’s Jack Catterall later this month. The fight was due to take place on December 18, only for Taylor to sustain an injury that postponed the mandatory WBO title (also with the WBA / WBC / IBF titles at stake) until February 26 in Glasgow.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox


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