Two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez has signed a multiyear promotional contract with Top Rank, the company announced Friday.
The signing of Ramirez, one of the most sought-after amateur boxers in the world, comes nearly one year after he abandoned the Cuban national team during a training camp last July in Aguascalientes, Mexico. He eventually defected in pursuit of freedom and a professional career.
"What a gift to sign a two-time Olympic gold medalist like Robeisy Ramirez," said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who held a ceremonial signing with Ramirez on Friday afternoon in Kissimmee, Florida. "The last two-time gold medalist that we signed out of the amateurs, Vasiliy Lomachenko, has become a big star. We anticipate the same from Robeisy."
Ramirez will campaign professionally as a featherweight, Arum said.
"He is truly a special talent, and he has what it takes to get to the top of the featherweight division in short order," Arum said.
Ramirez's professional debut has not yet been scheduled, but Top Rank said it would take place this summer on a Top Rank on ESPN undercard.
Ramirez, 25, won the 2012 flyweight Olympic gold medal in London and the 2016 bantamweight Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, where he narrowly outpointed American Shakur Stevenson, a fellow southpaw and current undefeated Top Rank top prospect.
"I am thrilled to begin my professional career with Top Rank. This moment is the result of all the hard work, dedication and sacrifice I have made since my days as an amateur boxer in Cuba," Ramirez said. "I look forward to continuing the successes I had at the amateur level in the professional ranks. And my fighting style will keep the fans entertained. Thank you to Bob Arum and Top Rank for giving me this great opportunity."
Ramirez lives in Gulfport, Florida, and he is trained by Rob Mendez out of the St. Pete Boxing Club in St. Petersburg. Ramirez racked up numerous other accolades as an amateur in addition to his Olympic gold medals -- winning gold at the 2011 and 2013 Pan American Games, the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games, the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and the 2010 Youth World Boxing Championships.
Ramirez also won his weight class in the Cuban national amateur championships in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017.
During the 2012 Olympics, Ramirez rolled past three opponents who have gone on to become top professional prospects in Tugstsogt Nyambayar (in the final), Michael Conlan (semifinals) and Andrew Selby (quarterfinals). Ramirez did the same in the 2016 Games with his wins over Stevenson and Murodjon Akhmadaliev (semifinals).
"If the projection is what we think, we should be able to move him quickly because of his extensive amateur career," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said.
Stevenson said he hopes to eventually face Ramirez in a pro rematch, which Top Rank said could be on the drawing board down the line.
"C'mon, Robeisy, I been waiting on you since 2016," Stevenson wrote on social media. "I promise u I'm gone get that back."