Robeisy Ramirez vs Rafael Espinoza results: Espinoza stuns Ramirez in huge upset, claims WBO 126-pound title

In a stunning upset, Rafael Espinoza scored a 12-round majority decision triumph over former Cuban amateur great Robeisy Ramirez and claimed the WBO featherweight title at the Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The official scores were 115-112, 114-111, and 113-113.

WATCH: Robeisy Ramirez vs. Rafael Espinoza, exclusively on ESPN+

Ramirez (13-2, 8 KOs) scored a terrific right hook knockdown in the fifth and looked on the verge of taking over in the middle rounds. However, like a typical Mexican warrior, Espinoza came back blazing in the final four rounds, outpunching the champion consistently and flooring him in the final minute with a pulverizing and relentless assault.

“All I kept asking my corner was, ‘What round are we in? How many rounds have I left to fight?’ I knew I had to drop him,” said Espinoza during his post-fight interview with ESPN. “I think I fractured my foot since the second round. Do you know what kept me up? My daughter. My family. My heart. Because I’m a Mexican warrior, I knew I had to take this belt.”

Ramirez had trouble getting the distance on his rangy opponent from the start. As good as the Cuban southpaw is, Espinoza’s significant height and reach advantages proved difficult for him to overcome. The challenger scored well from the outside, mixing up his attack to head and body, and stayed busy throughout. He also found the mark with some well-timed uppercuts through the guard.

Right hooks to the body had reddened the Mexican fighter’s ribs by the fourth round, but Ramirez just wasn’t busy enough. The champion did more feinting and posturing than Espinoza, but the Ismael Salas-trained fighter boxed to a disciplined game plan and gave Ramirez an absolute nightmare with his volume punching.

The Ramirez knockdown in the fifth looked like a game-changer, but it happened at the end of the round, so the younger man had the requisite time to regain his senses. And while the very same shot hurt the challenger again in the sixth, Espinoza fired back with vicious power shots of his own. Ramirez enjoyed the best of it in the middle rounds and landed some crushing counterblows, but he could never truly discourage the challenger.

The late-round rally that Espinoza executed was nothing short of remarkable. Ramirez just couldn’t hold him off and looked positively drained by the end of the fight. No single shot was responsible for putting the champion over in the closing seconds of the bout. He was simply knocked from pillar to post by Espinoza whose energy levels bordered on the phenomenal.

This is a terrible setback for Ramirez, who many touted as a future opponent for Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue. A direct rematch with Espinoza would appear to be his only option right now.

“Just like Robeisy gave me the opportunity, I’m willing to give him an opportunity,” said Espinoza afterward.

The new champion extends his unbeaten record to 24-0 (20 KOs).

Robeisy Ramirez vs. Rafael Espinoza full card results

  • Rafael Espinoza def. Robeisy Ramirez (c) via MD 12 (115-112, 114-111, 113-113) for the WBO featherweight title
  • Xander Zayas def. Jorge Fortea KO 5 (1:37); Super Welterweights
  • Bruce Carrington def. Jason Sanchez via TKO 2 (2:59); Featherweights
  • Jahi Tucker draw Francisco Daniel Veron via MD 8 (77-75, 76-76, 76-76); Super Welterweights
  • Rohan Polanco def. Keith Hunter via TKO 6; Super Lightweights
  • Delante Johnson def. Jimmer Espinosa via SD 12 (79-73, 78-74, 75-77); Super Lightweights
  • Damian Kynba def. Scott Alexander via UD 8; Heavyweights
  • Richard Torrez Jr. def. Curtis Harper via TKO 8 (2:03); Heavyweights

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