Jose Ramirez came into the heart of DFW and dethroned Oak Cliff fighter Maurice Hooker for the unified junior welterweight world title.
Ramirez won with a technical knockout in the sixth round with a flurry of punches, including a left hook that left Hooker dazed and up against the ropes before the referee stopped the fight at College Park Center on the campus of UT Arlington.
“I lost focus. At this level of boxing you can’t lose focus,” said Hooker, who suffered his first defeat. “I was trying to play with my jab tonight, trying to district him with my jab and he hit me with a clean shot.”
Hooker is now 26-1-3. Ramirez, who entered the fight as the WBC champion, improves to 28-0 with 17 knockouts.
“He’s a champion for a reason,” Hooker said. “Tonight just wasn’t my night. He didn’t show me anything special, but I take my hat off to him. It was good [the referee] stopped it. I was hurt.”
Ramirez had Hooker up against the ropes for much of the second round and took multiple shots to the head and body. Hooker shrugged it off with a look at Ramirez before heading to his corner after the ball.
Hooker was more effective in the third round, landing several blows to the head and for the first time making Ramirez shaky on his feet. Both fighters scored impressive blows in an even fourth round.
After a successful flourish by Ramirez in the fifth, Hooker, who had looked tired, found a burst of energy and retaliated with a flourish of his own, landing consecutive jabs.
“My coach was telling me to get off the ropes but I was comfortable on the ropes. He was swinging a lot of shot but none of them were hitting me really,” Hooker said. “Jose is a good fighter and he caught me with a good shot right on the money. I feel like I beat myself.”
Hooker slipped twice in the first round as he backed away from a flurry of swings by Ramirez, who appeared to step on Hooker’s foot. Neither time, however, did Hooker appear to be dazed from a blow. Ramirez was the aggressor in the opening round, even if it didn’t score him many points.
“I was pretty upset and I complained to the ref,” said Hooker, who was asked if he’s in favor of instant replay being used in boxing. “That would be a good idea. It probably would have calmed me down more going into the second round. He clearly stepped on my foot.”
Tevin Farmer defeated French challenger Guillaume Frenois in the top undercard bout in a unanimous decision.
Farmer, who is from Philadelphia, defended his IBF junior lightweight title for the fourth time since August 2018.
The 12-round fight was briefly stopped in the sixth round after Farmer landed an illegal shot below the belt. In the seventh round, Frenois threw a couple of jabs after the referee had attempted to reset the boxers.
Farmer was penalized for a second blow below the belt in the 10th round.