Always-exciting featherweight Ronny Rios (19-0, 9 KOs), of Santa Ana, Calif., puts his unbeaten record on the line when he faces former WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion Rico Ramos (21-1, 11 KOs), of Los Angeles, for the vacant NABF title on Friday night at Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in Indio, California.
The 22-year-old Rios, a stablemate of WBC world champions Abner Mares and Daniel Ponce de Leon is taking a significant leap in class after being steadily stepped up in recent fights. “I’ve been training really hard, and we really want to take advantage of this opportunity that’s been presented to us,” said Rios. “I’m looking forward to a good fight.”
IBF #7/WBA #8 Ramos, 25, captured the WBA 122-pound world title in his 20th pro fight with a spectacular, come-from-behind, one-punch, seventh-round knockout over Akifumi Shimoda in July 2011 is seeking his second consecutive victory since losing the WBA crown in his first defense to Guillermo Rigondeaux 12 months ago.
Rios is a gym rat who enjoys reading mystery novels in his spare time. He has campaigned at featherweight and junior lightweight the last few years, making his 10-round debut in his last start.
Ramos has been fighting at or around 122 pounds since going pro in March 2008. However, this move north in weight isn’t necessarily a permanent one. “I just want to see how I feel at 126 because I know I’m strong at 122. We’re going to see where it takes us right now. I can still make 122, but I just want to see where the opportunities are. This isn’t a permanent move up in weight.”
Reunited with trainer Charles “Chili” Wilson, Ramos is primed for a top effort. “I’ve been working on a lot of stuff: throwing more punches, not tensing up too much, throwing more combinations with a lot of movement and not standing straight up,” he said. “I’m ready for all fighters from 122 to 126. I’ll be back on top. I’m happy to be back.”
Showtime’s Stave Farhood, whose network is televising the fight, says “It’s a crossroads fight because Rios needs to prove he can become a contender and Ramos needs to prove he’s still a top-10 fighter. This is a fascinating style matchup with Rios being the pressure fighter and Ramos the boxer-puncher.”