Ramirez, Warren secure Olympic berths

Jose Ramirez’s story is quite impressive.

The resident of Avenal, Calif. and the son of farm workers, is on the U.S. Olympic boxing team, thanks to a 21-16 win over 2008 Olympian Raynell Williams in a lightweight bout at the team trials on Friday night.

That alone was big, but the win was the icing on the cake for a young man who has won 10 national championships and five consecutive USA boxing national titles. That’s more than Oscar DeLa Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Shane Mosley, and Floyd Mayweather.

In addition, he appeared on ESPN six times in one night and hosted Friday Night Fights. He is also being courted by the top professional boxing promoters, including Top Rank and Golden Boy.

That’s pretty impressive stuff for an 18-year-old who was the valedictorian of his local high school and currently a student at Fresno State University and a part-time employee at a local Starbucks.

”I’m very blessed to get the experience,” said Ramierez. ”I thank my family for giving me a good foundation.”

Promoter Rick Mirigian added: ”His win against a past Olympian shows there is a new era in Olympic boxing, and I believe he’ll open doors in USA boxing.”

Against Williams, Ramirez had to pick and choose his openings — and succeeded.

”I had to come out strong, and with him being the older fighter, I knew he was going to push himself,” Ramirez said. ”I tried to adopt as fast as I could and look for openings.”

All of the fighters who fought out of the champions corner, won their bouts, and they will have to qualify for the Olympics at the World Champions in Azerbaijan on Sept. 22. The boxers in the light flyweight through light heavyweight classes must place in the top 10 while the heavyweight and super heavyweight divisions must place in the top six.

Earlier, Cincinnati’s Rau’shee Warren made history when he made his third Olympic team in the flyweight finals. Warren used a brilliant third-round to take a 31-18 win over Shawn Simpson.

”I used the body shots to break him down,” said Warren. ”In the first round, he was hungry because I saw it in his face. I told myself it wasn’t going down like that.”

Simpson started off strong in the first round, and appeared to have Warren off balance. But Warren picked up the pace in the second, moving more and throwing jabs. In the third round, Warren picked up the pace even more, pinning Simpson on the ropes on a couple of occasions and scoring with body shots.

”I went in there a little sleepy,” Warren said. ”I took a nap just before the bout, and after the first round, my coaches to me to pick it up. It was close every round, and I picked it up a lot in the third.”

In the heavyweight division, Michael Hunter shook off the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, scoring a 28-17 win over Joseph Williams. Hunter said later that he was impressed with his opponent.

”I knew I would have to adjust to his speed,” he said. He (Williams) was definitely different from the other guys, and it was difficult for me to hit him.”